Riipen launches knowledge mobilization and change management project for employers to tackle key issues in the youth employment sector

December 12, 2022

Riipen, the world's largest work-integrated learning marketplace announces today a new partnership with several Canadian training providers, including Ontario Tech TALENT, in an effort to tackle key issues in the youth employment sector. 

Given Riipen’s effort as a key player in the experiential learning ecosystem, Riipen is collaborating with several training providers to pilot new strategies and approaches to support capacity building in the youth employment ecosystem. This knowledge mobilization and change management project aims at identifying and measuring effective interventions in a post-pandemic economy to better support youth and youth employers. This project, and its partnerships, are funded and supported by Employment and Social Development Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) as part of the Youth Employment COVID Recovery Supports: Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) and Change Management Project for Employers.

“We regularly hear from employers that it is the combination of experience and skills that make candidates stand out during the hiring process. This can be a particular challenge for youth at the early stage of their working lives,” says Rachel Sumner, CEO, Ontario Tech TALENT Inc. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Riipen on this project, and grateful to the Government for their support. Our collaboration will enable us to evaluate the impact of combining a rapid cycle training opportunity (micro-credential) focused on a high-demand skill with a related Riipen paid internship, enabling the learner to immediately apply and practice the skill.”

Through the partner of this project, Riipen aims to analyze the knowledge mobilization and change management frameworks needed to support youth service groups in order to strengthen their tools, capacity, training, and technical expertise in supporting the adoption of effective approaches to better support the barriers youth face during the COVID recovery period.

Riipen have developed partnerships with several short-cycle skills training providers from across the country to provide youth, specifically those furthest from employment, with access to in-demand skills development and relevant work experiences. This project will also support youth to align skills development with employer needs by connecting short-cycle skills development training with paid micro-internships through the Riipen Level UP program. 

Launched in 2021, the Riipen Level UP program, funded in part by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program, was designed to be fair, accessible, and equitable to all learners, regardless of background. Level UP provides a more accessible way for learners and employers to collaborate through flexible, 80-hour paid internships which can be completed fully online or hybrid. 

To date, over 8,000 paid internship experiences have been delivered to learners from 144 colleges and universities across Canada through the Level UP program. Of these learners, 69% identify as belonging to equity-seeking groups, 46% identify as racialized or part of a racialized group, and 31% identify as a woman in a discipline or field where women are underrepresented. 

"Riipen plays a critical role in connecting youth to employers to support the youth employment sector in a post-pandemic recovery. Our expertise and experience as the world's largest work-integrated learning platform will help us explore new strategies to help youth employers build their capacity to hire and retain youth while enabling youth to develop in-demand skills” says Midia Shikh Hassan, Strategic Partnership and Thought Leadership Manager at Riipen. 

Job seekers and youth who are interested in gaining in-demand skills and accessing paid internships can fill out the intake survey and will be contacted if their application is accepted.

Interested parties can learn more about the project, or share their experiences and feedback on the topic of youth employment, by contacting Midia Shikh Hassan at midia.shikhhassan@riipen.com