Capacity Building

RBC FutureLaunch is eliminating the ‘experience gap’ for Canadian graduates

McKinsey & Company’s landmark 2015 report ‘Youth in Transition: Bridging Canada’s Path from Education to Employment’ revealed that 83% of education providers believe that today’s youth are adequately prepared for the workforce. When you ask students the same question, only 44% believe it to be true. Seeing this firsthand, RBC FutureLaunch, a 10-year, C$500 million commitment to Canada’s future was created by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to give youth the tools they need to bridge the experience gap. Closely aligned to Riipen’s core mission of ending underemployment, RBC FutureLaunch and Riipen partnered in 2019 to deliver 27,000 work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences, with a renewed engagement of 20,000 additional placements by 2026.
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McKinsey & Company’s landmark 2015 report ‘Youth in Transition: Bridging Canada’s Path from Education to Employment’ revealed that 83% of education providers believe that today’s youth are adequately prepared for the workforce. When you ask students the same question, only 44% believe it to be true. Seeing this firsthand, RBC FutureLaunch, a 10-year, C$500 million commitment to Canada’s future was created by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to give youth the tools they need to bridge the experience gap. Closely aligned to Riipen’s core mission of ending underemployment, RBC FutureLaunch and Riipen partnered in 2019 to deliver 27,000 work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences, with a renewed engagement of 20,000 additional placements by 2026.

The situation

Learners don’t believe they’re adequately prepared for the workforce–and the labor market agrees.

You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. For decades, the ‘experience gap’ has prevented youth from reaching their full potential. Despite this, education providers overwhelmingly believe that graduates are adequately prepared for the labor market. When students and employers are asked if graduates are prepared, less than half agree with the educators. The gap between educators' understanding of graduate preparedness and the employers hiring them grows more dire when you compare Canada to other countries. At 49%, Canada has one of the largest gaps between education providers' and employers understanding, surpassing the US, India, Germany, Brazil, and the UK.

Young people deserve a better chance.

RBC FutureLaunch was created in 2017 as a 10-year, C$500 million commitment to “help young people gain access to the skills, job experience, networking solutions, and mental well-being supports and services they need to be ready for the future of work” (RBC FutureLaunch).

"Work-integrated learning can truly be a social and economic leveler. It's also an opportunity that roughly 40 percent of Canadian students miss out on. Too many young Canadians are caught in a 'no experience, no job' cycle. We have a collective opportunity to help change that by offering students the chance to gain the type of real-world experience that employers are hiring for."

- Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC


The solution

Remove barriers to access work experience opportunities at scale, particularly for BIPOC youth.

  

In 2019, RBC Future Launch and Riipen launched a partnership to increase access to high-impact work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities for Canadian post-secondary students. Our shared mission is to help prepare learners, particularly those from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities for the Future of Work.

During Phase I, more than 5,400 learners at 14 post-secondary institutions across Canada gained valuable work experience due to this partnership. In October 2020, we announced Phase II of our partnership, adding 16 institutions across Canada and delivering 6,000+ additional student experiences over the following year. In February 2022, we announced a further expansion, delivering 10,000 flexible and scalable curriculum-embedded short-term work-integrated learning experiences to learners at 30 participating institutions across Canada.

The next phase of the RBC-Riipen partnership, REACH UP, will work with a new cohort of 25 accredited post-secondary institutions across Canada to deliver 20,000 Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences to students over the next two years, with an enhanced focus on reaching students from underserved communities and demographics.

"We hope that through our partnership with Riipen, RBC Future Launch can help young people get those all-important first jobs and break the 'no experience, no job' cycle."

- Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC

“First Nations University of Canada is excited to work with Riipen to access work experiential learning components in the classroom. We foresee the involvement of Indigenous businesses and bands as a benefit for the students to kick start their careers. This is their chance to apply working Business knowledge to real-world projects and offer them time to network with potential employers. All of this is exciting and can provide students a step up in the job market, and that’s key as Indigenous people are under-represented in the workforce.”

- Jason Bird, Lecturer & Program Coordinator: Indigenous Business & Public Administration, First Nations University of Canada

Partnership outcomes

REACH UP is designed to enable 20,000 diverse learners, at post-secondary educational institutions across Canada, to access work-integrated learning projects that build skills, work experiences, and connections to employer partners. By working with industry partners, educators gain a greater understanding of labor market needs and how to successfully prepare their learners for the future of work. Simultaneously, learners become active co-creators in their education pathway, allowing them to design it for their passions and interests. When learners, educators, and employers (particularly small businesses, nonprofits, and charities) collaborate often, intensely, and purposefully, everyone contributes to and benefits from the sustainable long-term growth of the Canadian WIL ecosystem.

“Participating in WIL is so important for a balanced and complete educational experience. Through the RBC REACH UP opportunity, we are thrilled to have access to the Riipen platform to engage our students in real industry projects adding value to their education and their resume. We are also impressed with the support available to our faculty and local businesses which will deepen our connection to our community enabling our students to make a positive impact.”

- Stephanie Wells, Dean of Business and University Arts and Science, College of the Rockies

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