Youth Engagement Framework


Land & Labour Acknowledgement


The Centre for Employment Innovation operates on the ancestral, unceded territory of Mi’kma’ki, which holds a complex history of—and continues to be impacted by—exploitation, violence, and colonization. We acknowledge Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people as the original caretakers of this land and recognize the failure of colonial institutions and systems to maintain the Treaties of Peace and Friendship that were intended to guide our presence here.  

We also acknowledge the historical presence and contributions of African Nova Scotians and Persons of African descent, whose forced labour played a significant role in forming the foundations of this province, and whose own relationship with land has been complicated by the impacts of slavery and colonization. The labour of refugee and immigrant groups, as well, has been exploited towards the same end.  

Race and Indigeneity have been used as tools to oppress and repress various communities across these lands, and the intentional and unintentional maintenance of otherness continues to cause harm and contribute to the grief and trauma of historically excluded groups. As an organization, we take responsibility for learning and seeking long-term transformation in our relationships with land and labour in our province.


In the summer of 2021, we started out on a journey to better understand how employers, organizations, and service providers could support young people in the early phases of their careers. We surveyed, interviewed, and held focus groups for a diverse range of youth living and working in Nova Scotia, and did the same for the employers, organizations, and service providers looking to engage youth in their work. We also brought together a Youth Advisory Group with representation from across the province, which met regularly from October 2021 to July 2022. This framework is a compilation of what we learned, and we hope that it will prove useful to you in your own contexts as you work to engage and support young people in the work that you do.

Our research has highlighted four key pillars to successful youth engagement, which we’ve used as a means to organize the information we’re presenting here:

Fostering Youth-Adult Partnership

Creating Welcoming, Youth-Friendly Spaces

Supporting Youth Mental Well-Being 

Highlighting Youth Voice

Each of these framework sections includes research drawn from peer-reviewed literature, as well as from our own surveys, interviews, and focus groups; stories about successful initiatives and practices; a collection of external resources; and recommendations for how to put these learnings into practice.