It’s not hard to see why many of today’s youth can’t answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Less than half (44 per cent to be exact) actually feel prepared for the working world, according to data from RBC Royal Bank. Whether it’s lack of exposure to potential career paths, limited access to knowledge networks, or a need to develop 21st century skills, youth are needing to respond to an ever-evolving workforce.
RBC Royal Bank recognized that young people deserve a chance to thrive in the face of disruption and develop the capabilities required to be competitive for the jobs of tomorrow including critical thinking, resilience, communication, leadership, coding, and creative design. Through investing in programs, strategic partnerships, research, and the providing of resources and tools through the RBC Future Launch Hub, RBC is helping solve for the quiet crisis of no experience, no job.
In 2017, RBC unveiled its largest ever commitment to Canada’s future - RBC Future Launch, a 10-year, $500-million initiative to help young people gain access to the skills, job experience, and career networks needed for the future world of work. Working together with young Canadians, RBC is bringing community leaders, industry experts, governments, educators, and employers to help de-sign solutions and harness resources for young Canadians to chart a more prosperous and inclusive future.
Over the course of the initiative, RBC Future Launch will invest in areas that help young people learn skills, experience jobs, share knowledge, and build resilience, as well as addressing critical gaps such as lack of relevant experience and skills, lack of knowledge networks, and lack of future readiness.
“Many young Canadians know their future will be defined by disruption,” explains Kim Ulmer, RBC regional president for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Northern Ontario, pointing to a report by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship which found that 42 per cent of the Cana-dian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation in the next 10 to 20 years. “Young Canadians are okay with that; they want to be the disruptors and make the future workforce more creative and productive. RBC will partner to help to create and invest in opportunities, to help young Canadians retool, rethink, and rebuild as the age of disruption takes hold.”
Two years into the initiative and RBC is already seeing payoff in investing in youth. Career Trek is just one of several Winnipeg-based programs supported by RBC Future Launch. The not-for-profit organization helps young people discover the importance of education and career development through the use of hands-on activities and exposure to occupations that ignite a passion for learning and inspires youth to recognize their own potential.
Many youth work and volunteer with Career Trek to gain work experience and develop employment skills. One Junior Staff Mentorship Program (JSMP) participant mentioned that Career Trek allowed them to improve their public speaking skills, confidence, and adaptability; “My voice is louder than it used to be… I developed essential skills to being a leader.”
Another participant states they are able to begin to answer that age-old, aforementioned question of career choice. “I was given the opportunity to learn and explore all the different careers with the participants in all the campuses we went to. This was such a benefit for me because I was able to list down many career paths that I am interested in.”
“Young people are at a disadvantage in the job market if they don’t have an opportunity to learn from others and discover the realities of jobs they’re considering,” states Ulmer. “While we know we cannot predict the future, we know that there are certainly ways to be ready for it.”