by Gloria Welton
A program called WILWorks Youth in Manufacturing is now available for youth ages 16 to 20 to increase their awareness of the manufacturing sector as a career destination of choice.
Funded by the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) is now accepting applications for employers to participate in the program. Companies can apply to bring youth into their location for up to 10 weeks, with a financial incentive.
Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium is Canada’s largest manufacturing consortium, responsible for contributing significant knowledge, expertise, and resources towards the success of over 13,000 consortium member manufacturers who employ hundreds of thousands of Canadians in more than 60 consortium regions. EMC’s membership is coast-to-coast.
April MacLeod, Project Coordinator for Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC), says this program came about after listening to the needs of the manufacturing industry and lights a way to expose youth to careers in the industry.
“If we reach youth earlier and introduce them to manufacturing, maybe this will help with decision making for long-term careers,” says April, who comes from a Business Commerce and Marketing background.
“From my background in various initiatives offered to youth, I realize the more career information the better. It has left me asking what if I had been more aware of careers when I was younger. How would my life be different? I realize that career awareness isn’t just a ‘nice to have’. This is a ‘need to have’. Career education positively impacts mental health and the economy.”
A wide variety of manufacturing companies operate in the Atlantic provinces. Through this program, students can explore companies in categories such as:
- Fabricated metal
- Food and beverage
- Plastics & rubber
- Wood & paper
- Motor vehicle & parts
- Textiles – clothing & leather
- Chemical – petroleum & coal
- Primary metal
The program introduces youth to all types of jobs in manufacturing. Through the program, youth could become more aware of some of the following career options within PEI manufacturing companies:
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineers
- Production Labourers
- Machine Operators and Assemblers
- Human Resources
- Maintenance Trades
- Machine and Tool Inspectors
- Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics
- Drafting Technologists and Technicians
- Metalworking and Forging Machine Operators
- Sales and Business Development
- Supervising and Erector Trades
“EMC ran a WILWorks Youth in Manufacturing program pilot this summer with 11 students and three employers, one of which was a PEI employer. Besides exploring skilled trades, some students were placed in marketing and HR roles. MSE-MacDougall Steel Erectors Inc. was the employer on the Island that participated, and they placed five students in the summer program.”
“The interns gained valuable manufacturing experience and insight into the employment opportunities available right in their own backyard,” says Mark Quigley, CHSE at MSE. “And to top it all off, MSE gained two new full-time employees. As of Monday August 28, two students started their new jobs as Welder/Fitters with MSE.”
April says they hope to help companies engage with students connected to Cooperative Education programs within high schools, and to help connect companies with youth interested in summer employment and part-time year-round employment.
Companies can receive a financial incentive of up to $2,500 for each youth work placement. Each participant will also be provided with an opportunity to earn two micro-credentials: Manufacturing Foundations and Lean Fundamentals. Employers assign a mentor, who will receive mentorship training, from within the company to support the youth. All of this is done to offer the best experience for the youth possible.”
WILWorks Youth in Manufacturing was launched in September and has opened the door for 130 youth to participate with employers throughout Atlantic Canada over the next two years. “It is expected that PEI employers will come out strong and participate in the program,” says April.
“Typically, employers apply to participate in the program, then seek youth for work placement and training. The employer may recruit as they normally would, but if they need help to be matched with youth, we will help them connect.”
April is becoming familiar with all the organizations working with youth on PEI to make sure youth are aware of this program and employers have support when it comes time to recruiting youth.
When the youth start, they take an online micro-credential course called Manufacturing Foundations, which covers the following topics:
- Accountability in the Workplace
- Adaptability and Resilience
- Attitude in the Workplace
- Effective Problem Solving
- Giving and Receiving Feedback
- Introduction to Team Building
- Managing Conflict and Difficult Interactions
Throughout the 10-week work placement, the youth build micro-credentials, which are made up of a series of learning modules that can be listed on a resumé or referred to during employment interviews as a person moves forward in their career.
Ongoing connection with each work placement
“We connect with the youth from the very beginning to gauge their interest and abilities and then we check in to see if their thinking and abilities have progressed. We also stay connected with the employer to make sure all is going well and if any further support is required,” says April.
For an article that highlights reasons why a career in manufacturing is a good choice for youth click here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
on how to apply to WILWorks Youth in Manufacturing, contact April MacLeod, Project Coordinator, at email@example.com or call 902-449-2799.
For all other EMC-related inquiries, contact Joan Richard, Operations Manager and Manufacturing Consortium Manager for EMC Atlantic Canada, at firstname.lastname@example.org