CEI Well-Being Series, Panel #2: Supporting the Wellbeing of Young Professionals Through the Transition from Post-Secondary Education to the Workplace

Oct 21, 2022 | #WellBeing

by Addy Strickland |

On April 14, 2022, this panel brought together Hannah James, Templeton Sawyer, and Kim Archibald to discuss the challenges that come with that transition, and how employers and career development professionals can better support young professionals as they learn to navigate the world of work. Below, you’ll find the full panel recording, a list of key take-aways, and a list of panelist-suggested resources for further learning. 

Key Take-Aways:  

  • Before starting post-secondary, young people aren’t often made aware of what kinds of jobs that exist for them out in the ‘real world.’ 
  • The kind of relationships that exist between co-workers and supervisors are different from any other relationships young people have had in their lives—navigating those new dynamics can be challenging. Establishing clear, two-way communication early on between the young professional and their supervisor, or a more established employee, can help. There will be a learning curve no matter what, and being able to ask for support without fear is essential in helping young people feel comfortable in a new role. 
  • Post-secondary education allows students to learn a lot of theoretical knowledge, but not so many of the practical skills they might need in order to succeed at work—things like email and meeting etiquette, communication norms, time management, etc.—so offering support in these areas can help make the transition easier on both youth and employers.  
  • Supporting youth voice and encouraging young people to share their own stories and make choices based on their interests is powerful! This can help them figure out what they’re passionate about, and what they really want to do for a career—or, how their current career can help them on the way to their future goals. 
  • Focus on the skills that young people do have—help them learn the skills they don’t. (They’re used to learning new things, and chances are they’ll jump at the chance to grow!) Offering youth the chance to develop new skills and diversify their experiences—whether at work, or through volunteering—can be a valuable step in increasing workforce readiness. 
  • To retain young talent, prioritize work-life balance—make your workplace somewhere young people want to be, and somewhere they feel comfortable expressing and acting on their needs.  Post-secondary institutions could support the transition by integrating soft skills into their degree structures, and focusing on applying information and learnings to real-life situations. Co-ops and service-learning placements in relevant fields can add a lot to a post-secondary experience, as can mentorship or networking opportunities with alumni who are working jobs that young people are interested in.  
  • Partnership between NSW offices, career counsellors, and post-secondary institutions is the dream! 

Panelist-Suggested Resources for Further Learning:  

Addy Strickland

Addy Strickland

Youth Engagement Specialist


Addy Strickland is the lead researcher and writer of the CEI’s Youth Engagement Framework. Addy joined the CEI team in July 2021 with more than 10 years of experience in youth-led spaces. She adopts a story-based, first-voice approach to youth engagement, and is working to foster welcoming, youth-friendly spaces both within the CEI and the field of career and employment development more broadly. Prior to working for the CEI, Addy graduated from StFX University with an Honours degree in Development Studies, where she focused on using art and story as tools for community development and social change.