Oct 4, 2021 | News & Updates

Youth-Focused Community of Practice

In recent and ongoing conversations with employment and career service providers across Nova Scotia, there has been a common interest in better supporting young people who are ready to enter the workforce, to access useful, supportive, and meaningful employment services. The idea to pursue a Community of Practice within the employment and career supports eco-system in Nova Scotia emerged.

Throughout the below, we will use the term ‘youth’ or ‘young adult’ to describe young people who are close to or ready to enter the workforce.

Youth are facing a diverse set of influences relating to their career development. With the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, family of origin, environment, access to education, and technological advancement, youth culture is dynamic and quickly changes and adapts. We also know that the needs and challenges faced by youth differ from adults seeking employment support.

The complexity of the life stage of young adults requires increased intentionality and creativity to best support youth through employment services and interventions. As such, the needs and demands of career and employment service providers serving youth are as dynamic as the unique geographies, communities, and youth they are serving. Career and employment service professionals supporting youth may experience isolation from their co-workers who are not working directly with youth and may struggle to adapt career service activities designed for adults to the changing needs of young adults.

As a result of these factors the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) and TEAM Work Cooperative are excited to have recently launched of a Community of Practice (CoP) specifically for youth-focused career service professionals.

What is a ‘Community of Practice’?

Community of Practice (CoP) can be defined as:

“A group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals. Communities of practice often focus on sharing best practices and creating new knowledge to advance a domain of professional practice. Interaction on an ongoing basis is an important part of this.”1

In this instance, the Community of Practice would be a group of individuals involved in offering employment services and interventions specifically for young people entering the workforce (youth). This may include individuals involved in youth-focused service delivery, research, policy development, program development, etc. (below referred to as “career service professionals”).

Benefits of a youth-focused ‘Community of Practice’

A youth-focused Community of Practice in employment and career services would aim to:

Connect people: Help connect youth-focused career service professionals who might not otherwise interact, either as frequently or at all.
Provide a co-learning space: Support youth-focused career service professionals to communicate and share information, stories, and personal experiences to help build understanding and insights.
Support dialogue & learning: Between youth-focused career service professionals who come together to explore new possibilities, solve challenging problems, and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities.
Capture and share existing knowledge & resources: Help youth-focused career service professionals improve their practice by providing a forum to identify solutions to common problems and a process to collect and evaluate emerging best practices.
Encourage collaboration: Between groups and organizations as well as to encourage the free flow of ideas and exchange of information.
Help people organize and mobilize: Support purposeful actions that deliver tangible results.
Generate innovation: Help youth-focused career service professionals transform their practice to accommodate changes in needs of communities, emerging best practices, and new technologies.2

The Invitation:

Individuals who are involved in youth-focused career development and employment services (including those involved with service delivery & interventions, research, policy development, program development, etc.) are welcome to join this CoP.

The CoP will be hosted by the Centre for Employment Innovation and TEAM Work Cooperative, Nova Scotia Works centre staff. CoP sessions will be facilitated via Zoom and occur on a monthly basis.

To be added to the email list for information on future Youth-Focused Community of Practice gatherings, please visit: https://forms.office.com/r/DnB8bjYZND

If you have questions regarding the Youth-Focused CoP, please contact Joel Murphy at jmurphy@stfx.ca -OR- Templeton Sawyer at tsawyer@teamworkbridge.org.


1 http://www.communityofpractice.ca
2 Adapted from Cambridge and Suter (2005)