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Shifting how we think about internships

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Internships have changed the way businesses attract and recruit talent, fundamentally replacing the entry-level jobs of yesteryear. This changing landscape inspired our most recent workshop, InternSHIFT, an informative and interactive discussion held earlier this month at the 2015 CACEE National Conference in Ottawa. Through this Town Hall Meeting style session, Naguib Gouda, President of Career Edge, led conference delegates through the changing internship landscape, while exploring how paid internships contribute to our economy and social infrastructure.

For those who were unable to attend the conference, we have assembled the key highlights from InternSHIFT below, starting with a quick pop quiz.

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Career Buzz: “Get an edge on your career with Career Edge.”

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Career Edge was featured on Career Buzz, a radio show broadcast on CIUT 89.5 FM, on December 10. The show was hosted by Mark Franklin, President and Practice Leader at CareerCycles, a Toronto-based career management social enterprise. During the show, Mark interviewed Naguib Gouda, President of Career Edge and a staunch advocate for paid internships. Naguib was joined by Sydney Helland, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Career Edge, who launched her career through a Career Edge paid internship. During the show, both Naguib and Sydney shared their career stories and chatted about the socio-economic impact of paid internships and the benefits of Career Edge’s internship model.

If you are an employer looking to learn more about paid internships, or a job seeker aspiring to launch your career, play or download the radio episode by clicking here to hear how Career Edge’s paid internship programs can help.

Career Buzz radio show of Dec. 10, first broadcast on CIUT 89.5 FM in Toronto. Produced and hosted by Mark Franklin, president and practice leader of CareerCycles (

About Career Buzz: Career Buzz aims to inspire, educate and entertain listeners in the area of career satisfaction, how careers really happen, and what listeners might do to find more career happiness. If you believe that career happiness and having stories like yours heard is valuable, please consider supporting CIUT and Career Buzz during the twice annual membership campaign, which you can find out about by signing up for the Watch for Clues Newsletter on

Report from FINA recommends the protection of intern rights

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The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) has released “Youth Employment in Canada: Challenges and Potential Solutions” – a report that summarizes the information gathered in relation to the Committee’s Youth Employment Study that was adopted on October 29, 2013.

As part of this study, the Committee held seven hearings in March and April of 2014; 38 groups or individuals made presentations to the Committee, and an additional 26 written briefs were received. Career Edge was privileged to have been included among those invited to appear as a witnesses, and to submit a brief with recommendations towards improving employment outcomes for Canada’s youth.

Career Edge’s brief that was presented to the Committee on April 8, 2014 included the following recommendation:

“That the government enact federal legislation to the Canada Labour Code that specifically outlines the conditions of internships across all of Canada’s provinces and territories. This will ensure fairness and the protection of young workers, while giving employers firm guidelines for incorporating internships and internship programs into their recruitment, retention, and succession planning initiatives.”

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Open Letter RE: Ministry of Labour’s crackdown on unpaid internships

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As a staunch advocate for paid internships, Career Edge supports the Ministry of Labour’s crackdown on internships that violate the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in Ontario.  We believe enforcement of the law is the right thing to do, in order to prevent exploitation of our youth and to protect workers’ rights.

In our opinion, the search for a resolution to the issue of unpaid internships will require the collaboration between the government, employers and our youth:

  1. The government needs to educate employers on the stipulations outlined in the ESA, while safeguarding young people’s rights and ensuring fair and equitable access to career-launching opportunities.
  2. Employers must be willing to invest in our future by ensuring young people receive the experience required to grow professionally and become tomorrow’s leaders.
  3. Young people have a responsibility to educate themselves on their rights and make informed decisions to invest in their career.

From our experience, we know that unpaid internships limit opportunities to a certain socio-economic class – only those who can afford to work without pay have the chance to gain experience in this way.  Paid internships, on the other hand, offer an inclusive and accessible way for young people to transition into the workforce and get the experience needed to launch their career, while being fairly compensated for their work.  With that in mind, we must find ways to make internships work for employers, while ensuring equity for young people entering the labour force.  We must also ensure interns have the opportunity to make a decent living and to get on the right track to a promising career – without restricting the number of opportunities available to them.

Career Edge has remained passionate about connecting recent graduates – including those with disabilities – and internationally qualified professionals with leading organizations for paid internships since 1996; not only because we know it is good business practice, but also because we know it works.  Over fifty five per cent (55.46%) of our interns are hired by their host employer during or immediately after their internship, with the majority of the rest finding work elsewhere within six months of completing their internship.  For this reason, we hope to continue helping the government, employers, and youth leverage internships that launch careers and support Ontario’s social and economic sustainability.


Naguib Gouda
Career Edge Organization

The CEO Blog selected as favourite working life writers of 2013

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BrighterLife-Award-Working-Life_500pxThe CEO blog was just selected as one of the winners of the 2013 Working Life Award, presented by Sun Life Financial’s Brighter Life Likes! As Career Edge’s resident blogger, I am delighted to have our blog receive this recognition – what a great way to start a new year of blogging! I would like to extend a big “Thank you!” to the inspiring individuals and organizations that I have had the honour of writing about in 2013. Read on to learn more about the Brighter Life and our fellow award winners…

“Our mission at Brighter Life is to create and share useful information about the topics that matter the most to Canadians – their finances, health, families, careers. As part of that task, we track down good reading from reliable sources on the Internet and, each Friday, we share our recommendations in the Brighter Life likes column.

With the year drawing to an end, we have gathered our favourites for working life in 2013. We hope they will help encourage and inspire you to live a successful, brighter life. Check them out, and follow them on Twitter:

  • n-gen. Follow Giselle Kovary, a specialist in managing generational differences in the workplace:@ngen_training

The Cutting Edge to Great Talent. Guaranteed.

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As a result of its ongoing commitment to help highly motivated, well-qualified interns connect with leading Canadian employers, Career Edge is pleased to announce the launch of its new business model and service enhancements, planned to simplify the hiring and retention process for employers seeking top talent through paid internships.

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Career Edge celebrates 500 internships for recent graduates with disabilities

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Career Edge is celebrating over 500 interns placed through Ability Edge, a paid internship program for recent graduates with self-declared disabilities.

Ability Edge was launched in 1999 by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) along with five of its member banks (TD, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC) to increase the employment of people with disabilities (PWDs). In partnership with Career Edge, the CBA piloted an internship program for recent graduates with disabilities interested in working in the financial services sector. Since the official end of the pilot, Career Edge has continued to manage the program to provide meaningful work opportunities for PWDs pursuing careers in Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, Technology, Engineering, Business Operations, and more.

As the Ability Edge program grew within the financial services sector, the CBA and its member banks were quickly joined by a number of other leading organizations seeking talent with a diverse range of abilities. Many employers across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors have partnered with the Ability Edge program, including Deloitte, MaRS Discovery District, the City of Markham, the Ontario Ministry of Government Services, and Loblaw Companies Limited.

With the support of Career Edge’s internship model, employers provide inclusive and accessible workplaces that allow the interns they hire to gain meaningful work experience that aligns with their education and professional aspirations. As interns are given a foot in the door at reputable organizations, employers benefit from their qualifications and high levels of motivation while adding greater diversity to their workforce.

“At Deloitte we have set out to be recognized – internally and externally – as a diversity leader,” says Sarah Boon, Senior Manager of Talent Advisory at Deloitte. “We can’t do this alone, so our relationship with Ability Edge is very important.”

To help connect more new graduates with disabilities with employers like Deloitte, Career Edge maintains a number of strategic partnerships with organizations that share its commitment to supporting the employment of this group of talented new graduates, such as the Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN).

As one of Canada’s leading organizations specializing in the recruitment of new graduates with disabilities, JOIN has strongly collaborated and supported Career Edge in promoting full inclusion of this talented group, and to provide expertise on disability in the workplace. As part of this partnership, Naguib Gouda, President at Career Edge, was recently appointed as a member of JOIN’s Board of Directors.

“We are incredibly proud to have made a difference in the employment of recent graduates with disabilities,” says Gouda. “Our partnerships with employers and like-minded organizations have significantly contributed to inclusion in Canada’s workforce, while creating over 500 successful, career-launching experiences in the process.”

“It is a wise business decision to consider paying your interns, and paying them fairly.”

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In the October 7, 2013 issue of Canadian HR Reporter, News Editor, Liz Bernier, spoke with Career Edge President, Naguib Gouda, about the unpaid internship debate that has once again heated up in the Canadian business community. As a follow-up to this story, HR Reporter produced a video that investigates the issues related to unpaid internships. In the video, Naguib outlines four key reasons why paying your interns is good for business:

1. Reputation and Ethics

Unpaid internships have a bad reputation. They can be seen as exploitative and even unethical, and businesses seldom want to be associated with either, risking their reputation and ethical standing.

2. Socio-economic Responsibility

Many people – including talented newcomers, persons with disabilities and recent university or college graduates – simply cannot afford to accept a job without pay. This is a concerning thought because it means that unpaid internships cut a significant population out of the workforce.

Organizations could be systematically filtering out the dedicated, hardworking candidates who have to financially support themselves. It’s our social responsibility to help these people find work that reflects their education and qualifications to allow them to be prosperous, successful and productive citizens.

3. Motivation

While we are aware that money isn’t the single most important form of motivation, compensation is still a factor in getting the best results from your employees. If workers do not feel that they are getting compensated fairly for the work they do, they may not be giving you 100%.

You get what you pay for. Top talent are willing to work hard to get that much-needed first experience, but you’ll get the most if you pay them fairly.

4. Retention

If you do bring on an unpaid intern, it may prove difficult to keep them. First of all, your unpaid intern may have to work a second job just to stay afloat – after a while they may find the balance too difficult.

Even if the person is being financially supported by family or loved ones during the internship, it may not be long before they start looking at job boards. Promises of potential paid opportunities “down the road” may not go very far either, as so many unpaid interns have been strung along by companies in the past, they may not take the bait.