Blog & Updates

You’re Invited! How We Thrive 2019

Join us in June and bring your stories and experience, your questions and challenges, an open heart and an open mind.

At THRIVE we’ll shine new light on our work, dig deeper into places we get stuck, ask big questions, and form new friendships with people we wouldn’t usually meet.

This year’s theme is relationship building.

We are learning that “how we thrive” begins with how we live and work together here in Mi’kma’ki, the unceded ancestral land of the Mi’kmaq.

StFX Extension’s Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) is pleased to collaborate with THRIVE. CEI’s Jess Popp (Coordinator of Stakeholder Engagement) is a member of the THRIVE Incubation Team; she will also co-facilitate the Unleashing Potential: Your Contribution in a Changing World learning steam.

For information on bursaries (attend for $30!) apply by May 3.

Learn more about How We THRIVE 2019

New Bursaries Support Thriving Communities

We are excited to share the news that the Province of Nova Scotia has partnered with How We Thrive to create a bursary fund that opens the door to 50 people who couldn’t otherwise attend the upcoming How We Thrive learning event (June 2-5, MSVU). Please forward this announcement to those in your network who would be keen to take advantage of this opportunity.

The bursaries reduce the fee to $30 and will be awarded based on the following criteria:

  • You live in Nova Scotia.
  • You work or volunteer for a small non-profit or social enterprise OR you are applying as an individual (e.g., community volunteer, student).
  • You want to connect and learn with others who are passionate about their communities and engaged in making a difference.
  • You have read through the Thrive home page and 2019 website and feel this gathering is right for you.
  • You are able to take part in the full four days.

You need the bursary in order to attend.

The deadline is May 3rd, and successful applicants will be notified by May 10th.

Click here for more information and to apply.

Research funding – call for proposals for community-involved research projects on Employment Innovation

(Deadline for application: April 30, 2019)

The STFX Extension Department’s Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) invites applications for funding support to carry out research projects on Employment Innovation.

Framing its work within a social determinants of health lens, and an asset-based community development focus, the CEI brings people and knowledge together by: facilitating community-based, practitioner-led research; fostering an environment for collaboration and shared learning; and, strengthening governance and distributed leadership for the employment services ecosystem. Together, these efforts support innovations for a skilled, resilient and productive workforce, and workplaces, across NS… and beyond.”

Key dates:

April 10, 2019 – information session for interested applicants (please RSVP to – details will also be posted to the website above)

April 30, 2019 – submission deadline (noon). Submit PDF package to

May 7, 2019 – decisions returned to applicants

August 31, 2020 – deadline to complete the project

Note: Depending on available funds, a second call for proposals may be issued in August / September 2019, with the same deadline of August 31, 2020 to complete the project.

Funds available:

The maximum funding for each project is $7,500; in the first round, up to 6 projects will be funded.

Applicant Eligibility:

  • Any individual who holds one of the following appointments at STFX (and who will continue to hold an eligible appointment for the duration of the project) are eligible to apply: full-time faculty, part-time faculty, limited-term faculty, post-doctoral fellows, Coady staff, other research staff, adjunct / senior research appointees. Student applicants are NOT eligible for this funding stream.
  • Applications submitted by individuals (with community / partner) or teams (with community / partner) are welcome.

Project Activity Eligibility:

The Extension Department seeks to strengthen employment innovation activities, build capacity for communities and community-based partners, provide knowledge translation and mobilization for outcomes that contribute to the overall mandate of the Centre for Employment Innovation and the Extension Department. Projects will have strong links to diversity and inclusion, social innovation, social enterprise, community (economic) development, social determinants of health, and social equity/justice.

  • Projects must show evidence of being community-based or community-led.
  • Projects must be based in Nova Scotia.
  • Projects must have active involvement of one or more communities or community-based partners.
  • Communities may be (but are not limited to):
    • Municipalities, First Nations, or regional bodies such as health authorities, education authorities, service delivery agencies with representation from municipalities, etc.
    • Communities of cultural, language or geographical representation, including African Canadians, African Nova Scotians, recent immigrants, persons with disability, youth, older adults, etc.
  • Community-based organizations may be:
    • NGOs, service organizations, informal (unregistered) but recognized “groups”, individual schools /clinics / service providers, labour market or employment support / delivery organizations including provincial departments / agencies, etc.

Application Details:

  • Application form (please see attachment)
  • Proposal attachment (max 2 pages; ¾” margins all around, 11 pt font), with the following headings:
    • Purpose / Objectives
    • Background and Context
    • Activities / Timeline
    • Description of Community / Partner(s) and their Role in the Project
    • Expected Outcomes / Capacity Building
    • Knowledge Translation and Knowledge Mobilization Activities (clear statement of audience(s) and the tools / approaches used to reach them)
  • Budget justification attachment (max 1 page, in addition to the 2 pages above), detailing costs and justifying why each expense is needed:
    • It is expected, but not required, to have undergraduate/ graduate students involved in the project. If no students will be involved, explain why.
    • If you have matching funds from any source (such as within STFX or from any other external source) other than from the participating community / partner, please state at the end of this section. Matching funds are not required.
  • CV/resume of primary applicant (any format, no page limit; no material required for any co-applicants).
  • Support letter (max 1 page) from community / partner organization, which must include:
    • A statement confirming that they have discussed the project idea with the applicant and agree to its purpose and their participation in the project.
    • A descriptive paragraph of how / in what ways, they will be active in the project (this may include what tasks they will do and/or what information / resources they will provide).
    • A statement of the expected outcomes or benefits they hope for as a result of their involvement in the project.
    • A statement of any direct cash or in-kind support they are providing to the project, and its value (optional, no requirement to provide anything, but it is strongly encouraged).
    • Must be signed by a recognized representative where appropriate, which may include, for example, an executive director, councilor, or community leader.

Submission Instructions:

  1. Download and save the Employment Innovation Application Form.
  2. Complete all sections (form-fillable).
  3. Save as PDF or print, scan and save as PDF. Combine with the required file attachments.
  4. Use file name LASTNAME_EmpInnApp_April2019.pdf and email to This should be the last name of the lead applicant.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria:

  • Alignment with Employment Innovation program purpose – 40%
  • Role and involvement of community / partner – 20%
  • Clarity of proposed project / workplan – 15%
  • Clarity of expected outcomes / capacity building in community – 10%
  • Appropriate knowledge mobilization / knowledge translation activities – 10%
  • Appropriate budget relative to proposed activities – 5%

Eligible Costs:

  • Student wages (minimum $15/hr plus 11% for undergraduates, higher for Masters’ and PhD students). Note: Including students is strongly encouraged but not required.
  • Non-student wages (support for a community-based researcher)
  • Professional fees (such as translators, technical or design experts, etc.)
  • Travel for research purposes
  • Honoraria / participant costs
  • Workshop costs (for research purposes)
  • Research supplies
  • Knowledge translation (turning research findings into tools or usable information)
  • Knowledge mobilization (presenting research findings to community or stakeholders, within Nova Scotia only, or using tools such as webinars to deliver information)

Ineligible Costs:

  • Capital purchases such as computers
  • Alcohol purchases
  • Salary / remuneration for applicant / team member
  • Salary / remuneration for a staff person of a community partner organization
  • Cell phone charges
  • Indirect costs / overhead / administration fees

Matching funds:

  • Matching funds are not required. If you have matching funds from any source (such as within STFX or from any other external source) other than the participating community / partner, please state and describe in the budget justification section.
  • Communities / partners are strongly encouraged, but are not required, to provide cash or in-kind support, where appropriate.
  • Examples of in-kind support include, but are not limited to:
    • Staff time devoted to doing tasks in the project.
    • Volunteer time devoted to doing tasks in the project.
    • Provision of space (at no charge, but normally there would be a charge to rent that space, for example).
    • Access to existing equipment, tools, computers etc., that normally would not be provided to others or only provided to others at a cost.
  • Examples of cash support include, but are not limited to (there must be an actual cash transaction by the community/partner to provide it):
    • Purchasing or supplying food, meals and nutrition breaks.
    • Purchasing meeting or workshop supplies.
    • Providing mileage or travel reimbursement for staff or members from within their own budgets or resources.

Other Relevant Information:


Any and all questions concerning any aspect of this funding call should be directed to:

Paula Romanow, Manager Applied Research
Centre for Employment Innovation, STFX Extension Department
Coady Building Room 270,, 902-867-2135
Or by visiting,

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Participate in an informal, mid-year “check-in” meeting with Extension staff to discuss progress.
  • Submit a brief end of project report within 30 days of project completion (details to follow).
  • Participate (along with their community partners) in a half-day “community of learning” event hosted by the Extension Department in Fall 2020 (details to follow).

Administration of funds:

Funds will be administered directly by the Extension Department. Successful applicants will be provided with details on how to file expense claims, conduct payroll authorization, and monitor account status, separately.

Examples of relevant / appropriate projects include (but are not limited to):

  • Pure research projects (for example, investigating the appropriateness of a possible initiative or solution, or documenting evidence of need or opportunity)
  • Applied research projects (for example, assessing the feasibility of a possible initiative or solution)
  • Demonstration projects (for example, trying a new idea)
  • Evaluation projects (for example, assessing the effectiveness of an existing initiative)
  • Action-oriented projects (for example, carrying out one or more activities related to employment innovation)

Employer Engagement 101

Written by:  Bethany Eyking, Employer Engagement Specialist, YMCA of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Works Employment Services Centre

*Veuillez trouver la version française ci-dessous.

During the transformation of Nova Scotia Works in 2016, the role of Employer Engagement Specialists (EES) was developed to bridge the gaps in providing available services to employers. By working with us, employers are able to connect with the right people, programs and services designed to help them. EES’s work directly with employers to mitigate risks and increase productivity. How do we do that?

  • Asking the right questions and gathering information to find out employers’ needs.
  • Connecting employers with a pool of qualified job seekers and local organizations.
  • Navigating available resources and programs through bodies such as: Employment Nova Scotia, Department of Labour and Advanced Education, OHSA, Chamber of Commerce

Hiring takes resources. Turnover costs money.

Organizations requiring new staff may be hesitant to hire due to concerns around additional costs and time needed to allocate for business growth. It takes resources to write a job description, post it online, field calls, read resumes, schedule interview times, conduct interviews and select the best fit for the role.  New employees need to be trained which can take time away from more qualified workers. Additionally, if the employee isn’t a proper fit, the employee may leave or be terminated, wasting time and money.

Employers are busy people, so it’s understandable that important aspects of hiring can be overlooked. For example, an employer might have an idea of what attributes a person should have, but if that concept is never really fleshed out in the posting, they may not find the right person for the job.

An Employer Engagement Specialist can help employers address these concerns before they become issues. Our services can lessen the Human Resources (HR) burden, and mitigate the various time and financial risks that come with hiring. We help break the cycle that employers sometimes fall into with hiring.

Gaining perspective and knowledge to help attract and retain the right people.

“I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.” – Robert Bosch

Employers sometimes ask what salary they should be paying. I don’t give specific numbers but rather ask questions about expectations for the position, for example, what hiring or retention issues they may have. Benefits and current market standards also play a factor. Our expertise, experience and perspective can help build the job profile and develop the employer’s overall HR practices.

Support can come in many forms.

I have learned from working with business owners and employers that they are often open to hiring if the right candidate came along and they are given a little support along the way.

La participation des employeurs 101

Rédigé par : Bethany Eyking, spécialiste en participation des employeurs, YMCA du Cap-Breton, Centre de services d’emploi de Nouvelle-Écosse au travail

Lors de la transformation de Nouvelle-Écosse au travail en 2016, le rôle des spécialistes de la participation des employeurs (SPE) a été développé pour combler les lacunes dans la fourniture des services aux employeurs. En travaillant avec nous, les employeurs ont l’avantage d’être mis en relation avec des personnes, des programmes et des services conçus pour les aider. Les SPE travaillent directement avec les employeurs pour atténuer les risques et augmenter la productivité. Comment faisons-nous cela?

  • En posant les bonnes questions et en réunissant des informations pour connaître les besoins des employeurs.
  • En mettant les employeurs en relation avec des demandeurs d’emploi qualifiés et des organisations locales.
  • En naviguant les ressources et les programmes offerts par l’intermédiaire d’organismes tels que : Emploi Nouvelle-Écosse, le ministère du Travail et de l’Enseignement supérieur, l’Occupational Health and Safety Act (loi sur la santé et la sécurité au travail), la chambre de commerce.

L’embauche exige des ressources. Le roulement du personnel coûte de l’argent.

Les organisations ayant besoin de nouveaux employés peuvent hésiter à en embaucher en raison de préoccupations liées à l’accroissement des coûts et au temps nécessaire à la croissance d’une entreprise. Il faut beaucoup de ressources pour rédiger une description de poste, l’afficher en ligne, répondre aux appels, lire les curriculum vitae, planifier les entrevues, mener les entrevues et sélectionner le candidat le plus apte pour le poste. Les nouveaux employés doivent être formés, ce qui peut prendre du temps à des travailleurs plus qualifiés. De plus, si l’employé n’est pas apte pour le poste, il peut décider de partir ou être congédié, ce qui constitue une perte de temps et d’argent.

Les employeurs sont des personnes très occupées, il est donc compréhensible qu’ils puissent négliger des aspects importants de l’embauche. Par exemple, un employeur peut avoir une idée claire des attributs qu’une personne devrait posséder, mais si cette idée n’est jamais vraiment explicitée dans l’offre d’emploi, il se peut qu’il ne trouve pas la personne adéquate pour le poste.

Un spécialiste de la participation des employeurs peut aider les employeurs à aborder ces questions avant qu’elles ne deviennent des problèmes. Nos services peuvent alléger le fardeau du service des ressources humaines et réduire les divers risques en matière de temps et d’argent liés à l’embauche. Nous aidons à briser le cycle dans lequel les employeurs se trouvent parfois engrenés en matière d’embauche.

Acquérir la perspective et les connaissances pour attirer et conserver les personnes adéquates.

« Ce n’est pas que je paie de bons salaires parce que j’ai beaucoup d’argent; c’est plutôt que j’ai beaucoup d’argent parce que je paie de bons salaires. » – Robert Bosch

Les employeurs demandent parfois quel salaire ils devraient payer. Je ne donne pas de chiffres précis, mais je pose plutôt des questions sur les attentes en ce qui concerne le poste, par exemple, sur les problèmes d’embauche ou de maintien des effectifs qu’ils peuvent rencontrer. Les avantages sociaux et les normes actuelles du marché jouent également un rôle. Notre expertise, notre expérience et notre perspective peuvent aider à construire le profil de l’emploi et à développer les pratiques globales de l’employeur en matière de ressources humaines.

Le soutien peut prendre de multiples formes.

En travaillant avec des propriétaires d’entreprise et des employeurs, j’ai appris qu’ils sont souvent prêts à embaucher si le bon candidat se présente et s’ils reçoivent un peu de soutien en cours de route.

International Success in the Nova Scotian Labour Market: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)

Written by: Mohja Alia & Carolyn Ferguson, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)

*Veuillez trouver la version française ci-dessous.

Photo courtesy of ISANS

Newcomers to Canada bring skills, experience, and innovation to the labour market. Unfortunately, they often face barriers and challenges to employment. In response, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) has developed programs tailored to meet immigrants’ individual needs.

ISANS is the largest settlement organization east of Montreal. We offer a combination of innovative support and training programs to support newcomers in their job searches and careers. Our employment and employer support programs provide subject matter expertise with individualized, timely and practical solutions for their hiring needs. We also recently launched a research program pilot with St. FX’s Centre for Employment Innovation called New Opportunities for Work (NOW). This program helps newcomers with multiple barriers to employment attach to the labour market.

Recently we supported a tradesperson, newly arrived in Nova Scotia and with several years of experience. As a newcomer in a regulated trade, he was an ideal candidate for our Trades Practical Assessment Program, which prepares tradespersons for Canadian workplaces. He received safety training in First Aid/CPR, WHMIS, Fire Safety and other essential training. He was matched with a local employer in his trade and participated in a paid 12-week on-the-job assessment. He received valuable Canadian work experience and an evaluation of his apprenticeship level by a trained journeyperson in his field. As a result of the Trades Practical Assessment Program, he was well prepared when the NOW program was accepting candidates.

Through the NOW program, participants receive English in the Workplace training tailored to their needs, and a range of other supports, including Workplace Culture support to help participants to work better in a team with people from other cultures. This is in addition to the NOW program’s “wrap-around” support model that helps participants and employers navigate their working relationship.

“This program has really help me a lot. The amazing thing is that I am currently leading a team on the job site. I was so happy when my supervisor told me he liked me, because now he can understand me, and I understand him as well. He said to me, all my work is neat, I do a good job, and I’m punctual all the time. Based on that, he gave me keys to the site. All this is happening because of ISANS programs.”   – M.A.

Newcomers face common barriers to employment, like language skill, credential recognition, communication style, culture, technology, and lack of Canadian work experience and references. Successful attachment to the labour market is even more challenging when employers and staff are unfamiliar with how to work with immigrants.

ISANS’ pre-arrival, online and in-person employment programs are tailored to meet the needs of newcomers and their employers. Language, skills level, and education can range from: beginner English, low-skilled, and low education – to – advanced English, highly skilled, and educated professionals.

Immigrants in regulated occupations have particular needs. They must have their credentials recognized, be successful on qualifying exams, and become licensed to work in Canada. ISANS’ offers bridging programs for physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and financial services. For job competency assessments and training, ISANS programs are unique to Nova Scotia for engineers, architects and skilled trades.

ISANS has Bridge to Work programs to prepare low language and low-skilled newcomers for employment in Canadian workplaces. The program offers language training for the labour market and safety training. Providing safety training certification to participants before they enter the workforce ­is an incentive for employers to hire newcomers with lower language levels.

ISANS also supports newcomers through tailored programs for language and communication skills. This includes occupation-specific communication and one-on-one English in the Workplace training. We provide Canadian Workplace Culture training to help clients understand Canadian workplace practices, and employers are supported to train their staff on how to better work with newcomers, improve their intercultural competence, and retain immigrant employees.

Our combination of targeted and innovative programming helps newcomers successfully attach to the labour market. Our goal is to connect immigrants to employers and to jobs, in, or related to, their fields. Last year our programs prepared and supported 1,069 newcomers to access the labour market and secure jobs.

“As a skilled person, we decide to move to other countries. It is solely our decision to accept challenges of getting settled down in a country where we are not familiar with anything. That is the reason we face many challenges. [For one person], it takes a month to achieve our goals, while it takes many months for another. There are many services to guide us and assist us to get familiar with culture and system. I hope that this program will succeed, and by bringing such innovative ideas we will create more employment opportunities, and make our province stronger economically.” –P.G.

Succès des travailleurs étrangers sur le marché du travail néo-écossais: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia / ISANS (Association des services aux immigrants de la Nouvelle-Écosse)

Rédigé par : Mohja Alia et Carolyn Ferguson, Association des services aux immigrants de la Nouvelle-Écosse (ISANS)

Photo gracieuseté d’ISANS

Les nouveaux arrivants au Canada ont des compétences, de l’expérience et des idées novatrices à apporter au marché du travail. Malheureusement, ils se heurtent souvent à des obstacles et à des difficultés en matière d’emploi. En réponse à cela, l’Association des services aux immigrants de la Nouvelle-Écosse (ISANS) a mis au point des programmes spécialement conçus pour répondre aux besoins individuels des immigrants.

ISANS est la plus importante organisation d’établissement d’immigrants à l’est de Montréal. Nous proposons un ensemble de programmes de soutien et de formation innovateurs pour appuyer les nouveaux arrivants dans leur recherche d’emploi et leur carrière. Nos programmes de soutien à l’emploi et aux employeurs offrent une expertise spécialisée et des solutions individualisées, rapides et pratiques répondant à leurs besoins en matière d’embauche. Nous avons aussi lancé récemment, avec le Centre pour l’innovation de l’emploi de St. FX, un programme de recherche pilote, appelé New Opportunities for Work (NOW). Ce programme aide les nouveaux arrivants confrontés à de multiples obstacles à l’emploi à s’intégrer au marché du travail.

Récemment, nous avons apporté une aide à une personne de métier nouvellement arrivée en Nouvelle-Écosse et possédant plusieurs années d’expérience. En tant que nouvel arrivant dans une profession réglementée, il était un candidat idéal pour notre Trades Practical Assessment Program (programme d’évaluation pratique des métiers), qui prépare les gens de métier à l’environnement professionnel canadien. Il a reçu une formation à la sécurité dans les domaines des premiers soins, de la RCP, du SIMDUT, de la sécurité incendie et autres formations essentielles. Il a été jumelé à un employeur de la région dans sa profession et a participé à une évaluation rémunérée de 12 semaines sur le lieu de travail. Il a acquis une précieuse expérience professionnelle au Canada et a reçu une évaluation de son niveau d’expertise par un compagnon d’apprentissage qualifié dans son domaine. Grâce au programme d’évaluation pratique des métiers, il était bien préparé lorsque le programme NOW a commencé à accepter des candidats.

Dans le cadre du programme NOW, les participants reçoivent une formation appelée English in the Workplace (l’anglais en milieu de travail), adaptée à leurs besoins, ainsi que tout un éventail d’appuis, notamment un programme de soutien appelé Workplace Culture (culture organisationnelle) pour les aider à mieux travailler en équipe avec des personnes de différentes cultures. Cela s’ajoute au modèle de soutien « global » du programme NOW qui aide les participants et les employeurs à mieux gérer leurs relations de travail.

« Ce programme m’a vraiment beaucoup aidé. Le plus surprenant, c’est que je dirige actuellement une équipe sur le chantier. J’étais tellement heureux quand mon superviseur m’a dit qu’il m’appréciait beaucoup, parce qu’il peut maintenant me comprendre, et que je le comprends aussi. Il m’a dit que tout mon travail était très soigné, que je faisais du bon travail et que j’étais toujours ponctuel. À cause de cela, il m’a donné les clés du chantier. Tout cela, c’est grâce aux programmes d’ISANS. » – M.A.

Les nouveaux arrivants se heurtent à des obstacles communs en matière d’emploi, notamment les connaissances linguistiques, la reconnaissance des diplômes, le style de communication, la culture, les nouvelles technologies et le manque d’expérience professionnelle et de références d’employeurs canadiens. L’insertion réussie au sein du marché du travail est encore plus difficile lorsque les employeurs et le personnel n’ont pas l’habitude de travailler avec des immigrants.

Les programmes d’emploi d’ISANS avant l’arrivée, en ligne ou en présentiel sont spécialement conçus pour répondre aux besoins des nouveaux arrivants et de leurs employeurs. Le niveau de langue, de compétences et d’études peut être très variable : niveau d’anglais débutant, manque de qualification et d’instruction, niveau d’anglais avancé, professionnels hautement qualifiés et instruits.

Les immigrants exerçant des professions réglementées ont des besoins particuliers. Ils doivent faire reconnaître leurs titres de compétences, réussir aux examens d’aptitude professionnelle et être autorisés à travailler au Canada. ISANS propose des bridging programs (programmes de transition) destinés aux médecins, au personnel infirmier, aux dentistes, aux pharmaciens et aux financiers. En matière d’évaluation des compétences professionnelles et de formation, les programmes d’ISANS destinés aux ingénieurs, aux architectes et aux métiers spécialisés sont spécifiques à la Nouvelle-Écosse.

ISANS a mis en place le programme Bridge to Work (transition vers l’emploi) pour préparer les nouveaux arrivants peu qualifiés et ayant un faible niveau de langue à trouver un emploi dans les milieux professionnels canadiens. Ce programme offre une formation linguistique axée sur le marché du travail et une formation à la sécurité. Le fait d’offrir un certificat de formation à la sécurité aux participants avant leur entrée sur le marché du travail incite les employeurs à embaucher des nouveaux arrivants ayant un assez faible niveau de langue.

ISANS soutient également les nouveaux arrivants par le biais de programmes personnalisés axés sur les compétences linguistiques et les compétences de communication. Cela comporte la formation en communication propre à une profession donnée et la formation individuelle English in the Workplace (l’anglais en milieu de travail). Nous offrons une formation sur la culture en milieu de travail canadien pour aider les clients à comprendre les pratiques des milieux de travail canadiens. Nous aidons aussi les employeurs à former leur personnel sur la façon de mieux travailler avec les nouveaux arrivants et d’améliorer leurs compétences interculturelles en vue de conserver les employés immigrants.

Notre combinaison de programmes novateurs et ciblés aide les nouveaux arrivants à s’intégrer avec succès au marché du travail. Notre objectif est de mettre les immigrants en liaison avec des employeurs et des emplois, dans leur domaine ou dans des domaines connexes. L’année dernière, nos programmes ont préparé et aidé 1 069 nouveaux arrivants à accéder au marché du travail et à obtenir un emploi.

« Du fait que nous sommes qualifiés, nous décidons de déménager dans un autre pays. Nous prenons nous-mêmes la décision de relever le défi de nous établir dans un pays où nous ne connaissons rien. C’est la raison pour laquelle nous nous heurtons à de nombreux obstacles. Cela prend un mois à certaines personnes pour atteindre leurs objectifs, alors que d’autres ont besoin de plusieurs mois. De nombreux services sont à notre disposition pour nous guider et nous aider à nous familiariser avec la culture et le système. J’espère que ce programme sera un succès et qu’en apportant ces idées novatrices, nous créerons de meilleures perspectives d’emploi et rendrons notre province plus prospère sur le plan économique. » – P.G.

G.I.V.E. Camp

On July 3rd 2018, the StFX Extension Department’s Innovation and Enterprise Centre (IEC) kicked off their first G.I.V.E. (Girls in Venture and Entrepreneurship) Camp. G.I.V.E. is a two-day camp focused on teaching young girls about entrepreneurship and provides them with hands-on experience as entrepreneurs. The program was facilitated and led by the IEC’s Co-op Student, Kelsey Bowman, with the support of IEC Coordinator, Paula Brophy.

The first day of the camp involved learning about entrepreneurs, including a trip to the local Peace by Chocolate store. Everyone was welcomed into the store to taste some samples, hear their incredible story, and take pictures.

The remainder of the day was spent assembling and packaging products, which included candy kabobs, s’more kits, and surprise bags. The participants learned that not all of the money earned from sales, is money you get to keep – costs must be covered, a float must be removed, etc. This was an eye opener for many of them!

The second day of the camp consisted of the participants setting up as vendors at Stroll the Main, the annual street fair in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. They displayed the products created the previous day and customers were very pleased! Within the first few hours, they sold out of candy kabobs and surprise bags – this was very exciting for the participants. At the end of the camp, the participants determined their profit and chose to donate it all to a local cause.

G.I.V.E. is currently a pilot project but based on the success of the inaugural camp, the Innovation and Enterprise Centre hopes to offer it again in the future!

To learn more, please click here.

Workplace Mentorship and Youth: Building Capacity and Skills

Written by: Jordan MacDonald, CEI Innovation & Engagement Intern

*Veuillez trouver la version française ci-dessous.

Jordan MacDonald, Innovation and Engagement Intern

Youth mentorship, when popularly conceived, is often framed as a form of outreach on the part of businesses and community leaders to better interact and show leadership in their local communities. However, mentorship, when undertaken and internalized in the workplace environment, can result in many exciting and beneficial outcomes for the employee mentors and mentees along with the overall workplace environment.

We Choose Now: ONE Nova Scotia Coalition Collaborative Action Plan (2014) calls for Nova Scotia to boost the employment rate of youth, including workforce participation of youth who are disproportionately unattached to the labour market or underemployed. Mentorship may play a key role in supporting youth attachment, integration, and retention in the workplace, and thus the Centre for Employment Innovation, in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Works system partners, is undertaking a youth mentorship research initiative. The purpose of this project, supported by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, is to better understand the field of workplace mentoring of youth in Nova Scotia as it occurs now, the results of these initiatives, and the benefits and constraints that emerge as a business undertakes mentorship in the workplace.

The subjects of youth, mentorship, and youth mentorship are as diverse as the people who are represented by these terms. To better understand these terms, and the interactions between them, a review of the relevant literature was conducted. This included reviewing journal articles, books, handbooks, webpages, and online tools and resources. A great deal of information was reviewed, yet, only literature that discussed mentorship in the workplace and with young people over the age of 18 was included in this analysis. While expansive, there are several key learnings that should be shared:

Youth Are Diverse

The term “youth” is used to define, categorize, and understand a wide variety of people. Youth are diverse with respect to culture, ethnicity, religion, lived history, gender and sexual orientation, education, and relationship with the labour market. As well, the literature describes “youth” as many different age categories spanning the ages of 15-34. This includes various government agencies, government programs and services, non-profit groups, and community organizations. Such a wide span of ages includes a great deal of differing life experiences. This age span also includes many stages of life with differing levels of dependency upon others for support and guidance.

Mentorship Varies by Context

The emergence of mentorship appears to take different forms and is highly dependent on the context in which the act of mentoring takes place. Well-documented areas of mentorship include “outreach” focused youth mentoring for adolescents who gain support and guidance through their mentoring relationship. Strictly educational mentorship takes place both formally and informally within areas of learning. Much is known about the role mentorship has in transferring specific competencies for the completion of educational programming. This includes learning within institutions of higher education and the relationships built between teaching staff and students or education achieved through practice as conducted in many of the skilled trades.

Mentorship within the workplace is the primary focus of this research initiative. In this case, mentorship is best understood as a bidirectional, asymmetrical, relationship between two or more individuals for the purpose of knowledge transfer and capacity development. In a workplace, mentorship can be used as a means to help onboard staff members to the organization or new positions within the organization. There is also a role for mentorship in building the knowledge of the mentee on the soft skills, such as confidence and accountability, or the workplace culture. Likewise, mentors also benefit as a result of their participation in mentorship programs by refining their communication skills and bolstering their ability to teach and/or lead. Together, improved skillsets of employees and the increased health of the workplace environment can help to reduce employee turnover or increase rates of productivity.

Mentorship Program Evaluation is Dependent on Data and Objectives

Formal workplace mentorship programs or informal workplace cultures foster many strong interpersonal relationships. These relationships possess many potential areas of success and benefits that can be shared with the wider context. There will also be costs and areas of improvement that can be highlighted and improved upon in future iterations of the program. Thus, each mentorship program should have some form of evaluation. Such a method of evaluation should be responsive to both the quantitative results – the numbers, values, and figures – and the qualitative implications – the results that cannot necessarily be counted or given a value. An increase in production or reduction in delays may be an easily “countable” result of a mentorship program. However, an increased feeling of belonging to a team or connection to the workplace may not be as easy to express. In many cases these results are interconnected with one another.

Of course, the purpose of the evaluation process and what will be done with the results of the evaluation will be based on the initial program or relationship’s goals and objectives. These goals and objectives should be determined at the beginning of the initiative and should seek to address weaknesses, or areas of improvement, that those involved in the relationship experience and wish to mitigate.

So what?

This literature review has sought to understand youth, mentorship, and youth mentorship within the context of the workplace environment. Yet, it has done so in a way which is removed from the local Nova Scotian context. This review has captured information from a variety of sources, not all of which may reflect the nature of labour and employment in Nova Scotia. Therefore, there is a need to contextualize this research to the Nova Scotian context using first person voices and inclusion of experiences from employers, employees, and community members. Of importance is the inclusion of a diverse set of voices that represent the true nature of Nova Scotia.

Next Steps

In the coming months the Centre for Employment Innovation will be engaging with Nova Scotians about this topic to learn more about their experiences with mentorship and the contribution mentorship may play in connecting Nova Scotians aged 15-34 to meaningful employment and the labour market.

If you or someone you know has experience with mentorship or are interested in participating in this initiative, please email Jessica Popp ( To learn more and keep up-to-date on this initiative and others, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Le mentorat en milieu de travail et les jeunes : renforcer la capacité et les compétences

Écrit par : Jordan MacDonald, stagiaire chargé de l’innovation et de l’engagement, Centre pour l’innovation de l’emploi

Photo de Jordan MacDonald

Le mentorat des jeunes, tel qu’on le conçoit généralement, est souvent formulé comme une forme d’assistance de la part des entreprises et des dirigeants communautaires pour interagir davantage et faire preuve de leadership dans leurs collectivités locales. Toutefois, le mentorat, lorsqu’il est entrepris et intégré dans le lieu de travail, peut se traduire par de nombreux résultats stimulants et avantageux pour les mentors et les mentorés ainsi que pour l’ensemble de l’environnement de travail.

Le plan d’action We Choose Now : ONE Nova Scotia Coalition Collaborative Action Plan (2014) appelle la Nouvelle-Écosse à stimuler le taux d’emploi des jeunes, y compris la participation au marché du travail des jeunes, qui sont disproportionnellement sans emploi ou sous-employés. Le mentorat peut jouer un rôle clé pour favoriser la participation, l’intégration et la rétention des jeunes au sein du marché du travail, et le Centre pour l’innovation de l’emploi, en collaboration avec les partenaires du système Nouvelle-Écosse au travail, entreprend une initiative de recherche sur le mentorat des jeunes. L’objectif de ce projet, soutenu par le ministère du Travail et de l’Enseignement supérieur, est de mieux comprendre le domaine du mentorat des jeunes en milieu de travail en Nouvelle-Écosse tel qu’il se présente actuellement, les résultats de ces initiatives et les avantages et les contraintes qui surgissent lorsqu’une entreprise entreprend de faire du mentorat sur le lieu de travail.

Les sujets des jeunes, du mentorat et du mentorat des jeunes sont aussi divers que les personnes représentées par ces termes. Pour mieux comprendre ces termes, et leurs interactions, nous avons mené un examen de la documentation pertinente. Cela a consisté à étudier des articles de revues, des livres, des manuels, des pages Web et des outils et ressources en ligne. Une grande quantité d’information a été examinée, mais seule la documentation concernant le mentorat des jeunes de plus de 18 ans en milieu de travail a été incluse dans cette analyse. Bien que le sujet soit très étendu, nous avons acquis plusieurs connaissances clés qui devraient être partagées :

Les jeunes révèlent une grande diversité

Le terme « jeunes » est utilisé pour définir, catégoriser et comprendre une grande variété de personnes. Les jeunes révèlent une grande diversité en ce qui concerne la culture, l’ethnicité, la religion, l’histoire vécue, le sexe et l’orientation sexuelle, l’éducation et la relation avec le marché du travail. De même, dans la documentation, le terme « jeunes » décrit de nombreuses tranches d’âge allant de 15 à 34 ans. L’information est issue de divers organismes gouvernementaux, de programmes et services gouvernementaux, de groupes sans but lucratif et d’organismes communautaires. Une fourchette d’âges aussi vaste comporte de nombreuses expériences de vie différentes. Cette fourchette d’âges couvre également de nombreuses étapes de la vie, marquées par différents niveaux de dépendance envers les autres pour le soutien et l’orientation.

Le mentorat varie selon le contexte

L’émergence du mentorat semble prendre différentes formes et dépend beaucoup du contexte dans lequel se déroule ce mentorat. Parmi les domaines de mentorat bien documentés, citons le mentorat des jeunes axé sur « l’assistance » pour les adolescents qui obtiennent du soutien et des conseils dans le cadre de leur relation de mentorat. Le mentorat purement éducatif se déroule de manière formelle et informelle au sein des domaines d’apprentissage. Il existe beaucoup d’informations sur le rôle du mentorat dans le transfert de compétences spécifiques en vue de suivre des programmes d’études. Cela comprend l’apprentissage au sein des établissements d’enseignement supérieur et les relations établies entre le personnel enseignant et les étudiants ou bien l’éducation acquise par la pratique comme c’est le cas dans de nombreux métiers spécialisés.

Le mentorat en milieu de travail est l’axe principal de cette initiative de recherche. Dans ce cas, le mentorat est compris avant tout comme une relation bidirectionnelle et asymétrique entre deux personnes ou plus aux fins du transfert des connaissances et du développement de la capacité. Dans un lieu de travail, le mentorat peut être utilisé comme un moyen de faciliter l’intégration du personnel à l’organisation ou à de nouveaux postes au sein de l’organisation. Le mentorat a également un rôle à jouer dans le renforcement des compétences générales du mentoré, comme la confiance et la responsabilité, ou de la connaissance de la culture du milieu de travail. De même, les mentors tirent profit de leur participation à des programmes de mentorat en affinant leurs compétences de communication et en renforçant leur aptitude à enseigner et à diriger. Ainsi, l’amélioration des compétences des employés et de l’ambiance de l’environnement de travail peut contribuer à réduire le roulement du personnel ou à augmenter les taux de productivité.

L’évaluation des programmes de mentorat repose sur des données et des objectifs

Les programmes formels de mentorat en milieu de travail ou les cultures informelles du lieu de travail favorisent de nombreuses relations interpersonnelles solides. Ces relations comportent de nombreuses occasions de réussite et de nombreux avantages potentiels qui peuvent s’étendre à un contexte plus large. Des coûts et des domaines à améliorer peuvent également être mis en évidence et abordés lors des itérations futures du programme. Ainsi, chaque programme de mentorat devrait faire l’objet d’une évaluation. La méthode d’évaluation devrait tenir compte à la fois des résultats quantitatifs – nombres, valeurs et chiffres – et des répercussions qualitatives – les résultats qui ne peuvent pas nécessairement être calculés ou quantifiés. Une augmentation de la production ou une réduction des retards de production peut être un résultat facilement « calculable » d’un programme de mentorat. Par contre, le sentiment accru d’appartenance à une équipe ou d’intégration au lieu de travail peut être plus difficile à exprimer. Dans de nombreux cas, ces résultats sont étroitement liés entre eux.

Bien entendu, l’objet du processus d’évaluation et l’utilisation des résultats de l’évaluation seront fonction des buts et des objectifs initiaux du programme ou de la relation. Ces buts et ces objectifs devraient être déterminés au début de l’initiative et devraient chercher à aborder les faiblesses ou les domaines à améliorer que les personnes impliquées dans la relation ont cernés et souhaitent corriger.

Alors, qu’en est-il?

Cet examen de la documentation a cherché à comprendre les jeunes, le mentorat, et le mentorat des jeunes dans le contexte de l’environnement de travail. Toutefois, il l’a fait sans tenir précisément compte du contexte néo-écossais. Cet examen a permis de saisir des informations issues de sources diverses, qui ne reflètent peut-être pas toutes la nature du travail et de l’emploi en Nouvelle-Écosse. Par conséquent, il est nécessaire de contextualiser cette recherche au sein de la Nouvelle-Écosse en utilisant des récits à la première personne et en y incluant les expériences des employeurs, des employés et des membres de la communauté. Il est important d’inclure un ensemble d’opinions diverses qui représentent la vraie nature de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Prochaines étapes

Dans les mois à venir, le Centre pour l’innovation de l’emploi va collaborer avec les Néo-Écossais à ce sujet pour en apprendre davantage sur leurs expériences en matière de mentorat et sur le rôle que peut jouer le mentorat pour associer les Néo-Écossais âgés de 15 à 34 ans à un emploi valorisant et au marché du travail.

Si vous ou quelqu’un que vous connaissez avez de l’expérience en matière de mentorat ou si vous souhaitez participer à cette initiative, veuillez envoyer un courriel à Jessica Popp ( Pour en savoir plus et vous tenir au courant de cette initiative et d’autres, communiquez avec nous sur Facebook et Twitter!

Creating Change and Learning Together with New Opportunities for Work

When the New Opportunities for Work (NOW) Program was launched in July 2017, the goal was to help at least 150 participants, from groups under-represented in our workforce, attach to meaningful employment. Now, almost a year later, we have 167 participants from across the province connected to employment with more than 100 employers.

Group photo from the recent Community of Learning in Fall River, NS.

The program has provided participants an opportunity to upgrade and learn new skills (both through occupation-based and formal education/training) – while employers are receiving cultural competency and diverse workplace training. Through NOW, we have also been able to put supports in place for participants that accommodate their own unique needs and barriers to sustainable employment.

Our collaborative partnerships, with the ten proponent organizations helping to facilitate the program within their communities, have immeasurably enriched and strengthened the program outcomes. Each organization brings with it a wealth of expertise, innovative ideas, and passion for helping others attain “full and abundant lives”.

On May 17th and 18th, the Centre for Employment Innovation hosted our second Community of Learning (COL) for the NOW proponent organizations. Joining our original ten organizations at the COL was Phoenix Youth, who in partnership with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, will be facilitating a NOW-like program for youth.

Representatives from thirteen organizations came together at the Community of Learning.

During the two-day Community of Learning event, we hosted a storytelling session where each proponent organization shared stories of a participant’s journey with NOW and the impact it has had on their lives. It was a powerful and moving experience for all in attendance.

Recently we caught up with a few attendees of the Community of Learning, asking for their reflections on the event and the NOW program. Included below are the insights they shared.


How is the NOW Program impacting your community?


“This program offered clients stable employment with opportunities for advancement. These clients are now either off or won’t have to go on social assistance, which makes a huge difference for immigrants and refugees in particular. A number of clients are in the apprenticeship program; while working in their desired fields, they are learning their jobs in a Canadian environment and getting retraining in their fields, if necessary. By the end of the program, many of them will pass at least two apprenticeship levels.  Five are retraining for careers they previously had – one is ready to submit documentation to Engineers Nova Scotia. A number have received raises from their starting salary or had their wages voluntarily topped up by the employer during apprenticeship training. On a personal note, one has just purchased a home, another has saved to bring his family here from India, and another has almost enough money to bring his children here from Ghana. The program has had a significant and quantifiable impact on our community.” – Mohja Alia, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)


“The Now Program is having a broad-based impact in the 16 communities where we have engaged job seekers and employers. The broad appeal for the program continues to be its accessibility to small and medium-sized enterprises, who in this program, have been given the same status as a large business. The varying degree of skills that have been matched to this point, has highlighted the number of persons that are running into barriers too numerous or embedded to overcome. The NOW program and its flexibility may prove to be the cornerstone of real employment engagement for a dedicated number of community persons and their families.” – Robert Ffrench, Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA), Nova Scotia Works Centre


“The NOW program has impacted our community in a number of ways but most importantly, it’s bringing people back home to Cape Breton to work and thrive in a position within their field of work and study, which has had the most profound impact on our participants. A majority of our proponents were outside the province prior to the NOW program beginning and have since been able to reroute their career paths back to their homeland.  In addition, businesses have been able to expand and grow due to the level of expertise and experience participants have been able to offer to the business itself.” – Kristin MacIntyre, Island Employment, Nova Scotia Works Centre


What is your biggest takeaway from the recent Community of Learning?


“I was really impressed with how candid participants were around the very real social, psychological, physical and economic barriers their clients were facing, and the creative ways they were addressing these challenges. The stories shared touched every participant in so many ways. It made it clear that the wrap-around care model and the flexibility of supports are both necessary and effective in overcoming clients’ barriers and leading to meaningful employment. Building connections with other organizations and supporting organizations was possible and encouraged.” – Mohja Alia, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)


“There is a wealth of expertise available to be tapped into for the gathering of information and evaluation of the projects’ effectiveness. The diversity of the organizations involved is a model that is more representative of the communities across Nova Scotia than most other programs supported by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.” – Robert Ffrench, Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA), Nova Scotia Works Centre


“I loved and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Community of Learning.  I felt it was very interesting to see the innovation happening across the province with the NOW program.  For our organization, we took home with us the stories of success and hope to continue on the path of success with our own participants.” – Kristin MacIntyre, Island Employment, Nova Scotia Works Centre


Tips for a Successful Career Fair!

Written by: Heather MacIsaac of Career Connections – Nova Scotia Works Centre, Pictou County

Photo of Heather MacIsaac.

When I planned my first career fair in 2013, I hoped to receive at least 20 responses from employers. Fast forward to 2018 and our career fair has turned into a completely packed room of 40 employers (we have spilled into the hallways of the largest venue in Pictou County) and an employer wait list. The number of job seekers continues to increase, with more than 1000 people in attendance at our most recent event.

Our team plans this event each year while still maintaining a case load of clients and other daily duties – meaning it entails a lot of organization, time management, frustration and sticky notes. Nonetheless, it’s a very fulfilling aspect of my job that makes a real impact in my community.

You see, career fairs provide a unique opportunity for employers and job seekers to come together, share information, and connect in a highly efficient way. As an employee, it provides a face-to-face opportunity to impress a potential employer – helping them to stand out in an employer’s sea of job applicants. As an employer, it’s a quick and effective way to source out local talent that could fill current or future roles in your organization.

So, in the event you’re considering a career fair of your own, you may appreciate my list of tips and tricks to assist you in your planning. Read on to learn what has worked for me, what hasn’t, and my absolute planning musts!

  1. Know your budget
  • Outline where the job fair funds will be spent. Venue, food and marketing will likely use a large portion of your budget.
  1. Book your venue early
  • I book the venue almost immediately after hosting the current job fair – it ensures availability.
  1. Create a career fair binder
  • Organize everything into one place and write everything down. As tasks are completed, be sure to check them off in your binder. In addition, use the binder to keep track of contact names and/or business cards.
  1. List all employers you want to invite
  • Chances are you will forget some, so be sure to also ask co-workers for employer suggestions!
  1. Confirm employer responses
  • Regardless if an employer responds ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a job fair invite – follow-up with them to confirm. This will help avoid mass confusion on the day of the event. A quick phone call is often the most effective way to do this.
  1. Determine the job fair layout
  • Meet with the venue staff to determine venue setup. Think of the “flow” of job seekers – you want to make sure the table set-up is easy for everyone to navigate. Keep in mind that employers will have signs, banners, etc., so consider this in your plan. If on the day of the event an employer’s sign is too large, do not be afraid to move them to another spot.
  1. Maintain contact with venue organizer
  • Keep in contact with the event organizer at the venue throughout the planning process to ensure you remain on the same page and mitigate the potential for confusion on the day of the event. I also ask for the venue invoice early and pay in advance.
  1. Advertisements
  • Social media and radio ads were our best marketing strategies:
    • Social media – Our Facebook page is very active and the engagement with our career fair posts brought thousands of views. We also spent $20 for a sponsored ad which ran for a month. This was the best $20 spent on marketing, as many people mentioned seeing the ad.
    • Radio – We purchased three ads per day which ran for 14 days – these were also well received.
    • Press release – sent a generic press release to our local papers and then made calls to their editors inviting reporters to come to the job fair for pictures and articles.
  1. Marketing materials
  • Give yourself time to plan, print, and pick-up your supplies. I keep a tote box in my office with supplies for next year’s job fair (i.e. pens, brochures, holders, signs, etc.). BONUS: If I am asked to attend someone else’s job fair, I’m already prepared!
  1. Delegate to coworkers
  • Write up a schedule for coworkers outlining their designated tasks for the event. Some things to think about include: who is covering the registration desk, who will greet employers as they come in, who will ensure the caterers know where to go, etc. It will bring clarity to everyone’s role and helps things run more smoothly.
  1. Privacy of attendees
  • If taking photos, be sure to blur out the faces of the job seekers before posting any pics online, unless written permission is acquired. Some attendees are currently working and may not want others to know they are job searching.
  1. Other Employer Considerations
  • This year we provided employers with Nova Scotia Works branded lunch bags which contained 2 bottles of water, sticky notes, our portfolio of services, business card(s), and a pack of gum. This ensured the employers had some networking essentials on-hand while also learning more about our centre.
  • I also recommend providing lunch for the employers. We typically book a separate, private room for lunch, as this allows the employers a quiet space to relax for a few minutes away from the crowd. Also, if required, our staff help monitor employer tables while they are taking a break.
  1. What to Forget!
  • Door prizes…you don’t need them! We tried this at three separate jobs fairs – always in a different way – but it typically just creates confusion and is a lot of extra work. Almost all employers provide some kind of small gift, gadget, or food item at their table, which is more than sufficient for attendees. However, I do encourage employers to do giveaways at their own tables if desired!
  1. Comfy Shoes
  • Comfortable shoes are a must! During my first job fair, I wore shoes that looked “cute” and went well with my outfit but by the end of the day, I could barely walk.  You will be surprised by how much walking you do!
  1. After the Event
  • Keep track of attendance stats, feedback from the event, and other takeaways that will assist you in planning next year’s career fair. But, most importantly, take a moment to breathe, relax, and pat yourself on the back after a job well done!

News Coverage of our recent Career Fair in Pictou County: