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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.”

Hands-on experience through internships can be the best of teachers

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Article republished from Canadian Immigrant:

Farhana Naznin, Career Bridge program internFor Bangladeshi-born Farhana Naznin, it was a bit of a shock to be asked if she had Canadian experience, especially since she had worked in Australia as a software developer. “Everywhere I applied, I was asked for Canadian experience. Just about when it was getting to the point that it was getting frustrated, I heard of the internship program at Career Edge Organization,” says Naznin, who, along with her husband, had studied in Japan and worked in Australia for three years before immigrating to Canada.

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“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.

The Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) Welcomes Naguib Gouda as Board Member

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The Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) has appointed Naguib Gouda, President of Career Edge, as a member of its board. This solidifies the organizations’ mutual goal of promoting bias-free hiring practices for persons with disabilities in Canada.

“The partnership with Career Edge means strengthening our ability to present strong talent to our Business Leadership Networks, subsequently finding sustainable employment for university students with disabilities,” says Dauna Jones-Simmonds, Executive Director of JOIN. “It also allows us to collaborate in ways that would earn us credibility and respect in the business environment, and to be more competitive in the marketplace.”

In 2006, Statistics Canada reported that people with disabilities were underrepresented in the workforce, a stark contrast to the greater percentage of people without disabilities who were employed. The study noted that 75 per cent of people without disabilities were employed compared to 51 per cent of those with disabilities. Career Edge and JOIN believe that this partnership can help increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities in Canada.

“JOIN is raising the profile of the talent that resides with our 26 Service Providers,” continues Jones-Simmonds. “As we embark on initiatives such as Virtual Career fairs that target university and college students, we believe that a partnership with Career Edge would help us to penetrate this environment.”

Career Edge has been a member of JOIN since December 2010 and has worked closely with the organization through its Ability Edge program to connect university and college graduates with self-declared disabilities with leading employers of all sizes through paid internship opportunities.

As President of Career Edge, Gouda brings C-level executive experience to the JOIN board of directors. His far-reaching background encompasses experience in senior executive positions with the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, The Ontario Medical Association, York University and Manulife Financial. He has also been a senior volunteer with such organizations as- The Toronto Distress Centre, The Learning Partnership and The Schulich School of Business. Through his recently acquired board membership, Gouda will help strengthen the collaborative relationship between the two organizations.

“JOIN’s partnership with Career Edge reflects our shared commitment to removing employment barriers for graduates with disabilities. Our Ability Edge program gives employers access to highly motivated, high quality talent and is closely aligned with JOIN’s mandate,” says Gouda.

Career Bridge Internships a Win-Win for St. Michael’s Hospital

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*Article republished from

Structured program allows hospital to assess skilled immigrants’ suitability for permanent jobs. 

In December 2012, Mehmet Bahar, a Career Bridge intern at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, led a project to improve the quality of the hospital’s environmental service audits, which measure the cleanliness of patient rooms and other core hospital areas.

Mr. Bahar, a recent immigrant from Turkey, redesigned the auditing process and improved communication between the supervisors performing the audits and the employees responsible for cleaning the different areas. In three short months, the average audit score increased by 15 per cent.

Because of his success on that project and others during his six-month internship, as well as his Master’s of Engineering degree and project management certification, the hospital offered him a six-month contract position as project manager in Environmental Services.

A decade-long partnership

Since 2004, St. Michael’s has sponsored over 45 internationally educated Career Bridge interns from the Career Edge Organization, about one-half of which were hired after their internships finished, says Kevin Kirkpatrick, manager of recruitment at St. Michael’s.

Career Edge pre-screens the internationally educated professionals (IEPs) and ensures they have a mentor and a coach. All of them have at least a bachelor’s degree and three years of international work experience in their field.

The structured program an attractive way to tap into diverse talent, which is a priority for the hospital located in one of Canada’s most diverse cities, says Mr. Kirkpatrick.

“Our executive vice presidents have a philosophy that they wanted to be supportive and reflective of our patient population,” he says. “When an EVP says we’re going to commit and align resources to this program, that’s the true driver.”

Saint Michael's Hospital logo

Projects provide clear objectives to measure success

The paid internships range from four months to one year in length, though the majority of internships at St. Michael’s are   four months long. Most of the internships are in IT positions, while others are in research, procurement and corporate health programs.

All the interns are assigned to at least one project for the duration of their internship. This ensures there are objective goals against which to measure the interns’ progress and skills, says Mr. Kirkpatrick.

“We get really talented people through the program and we get a really good idea of their skills by the time the internship ends,” he says. “It’s very much a win-win. The IEP gets access to Canadian work experience and we get access to strong candidates who can be considered for available positions.”

Supporting IEP integration

To help them be successful at St. Michael’s, interns are encouraged to participate in the hospital’s general orientation program for all new hires. And those who start around January are also able to take part in the hospital’s IEP Transition and Integration Program, which runs from January to June.

The program, originally created in partnership with the Government of Ontario and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, supports the integration of IEPs who are currently employed by the hospital. It consists of several elements, including:

  • an orientation and transition program for IEPs
  • workshops for mentors and managers to increase their knowledge of IEPs’ experiences and challenges
  • a corporate IEP balanced scorecard for continuous improvement and evaluation

Networking essential for career development

Recently, Mr. Kirkpatrick led a networking and social media workshop for IEPs in the program. Contrary to popular opinion, networking isn’t just about finding a job, he says.

“Networking is about building relationships, sharing information and creating mutually beneficial dialogues,” he says.

It’s also essential to career development because it’s a way to let people know about all the various skills and experiences you have that might not be apparent in your current role, he adds.

During his internship, Mr. Bahar took part in the program and found it a very useful way to become familiar with the hospital’s culture and practices. All employers should offer this kind of program to help newcomers learn about the workplace culture and be successful in their new jobs, he says.

Tips for employers

  • Tap into skilled immigrant talent through structured internship programs that pre-screen internationally educated professionals.
  • Assign interns projects with clear goals and expectations that can be used to objectively measure success and determine if an intern would be an asset to the organization in a permanent role.
  • Executive support, including financial support, is essential to creating a cohesive corporate vision that values a diverse workforce that includes skilled immigrants.

CIMA and Career Edge partner to bridge the careers of internationally qualified accountants

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The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and Career Edge Organization have announced a strategic partnership that aims to facilitate and support internationally qualified CIMA members looking to gain Canadian work experience that is consistent with the skills and experience acquired in their home country.

Since 1996, Career Edge Organization has provided leadership in connecting multi-sector businesses with diverse, qualified talent through innovative paid internship programs: Career Edge for recent grads, Ability Edge for graduates with disabilities, and Career Bridge for internationally qualified professionals. Having partnered with nearly 1,000 organizations, Career Edge has successfully launched the careers of over 11,000 interns.

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RBC Career Bridge Associate Host Program

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RBC Royal Bank has further enhanced its partnership with Career Edge Organization by developing the RBC Career Bridge Associate Host Program. This unique program is designed to support RBC’s small and medium-sized GTA-based business clients in connecting with high-potential, internationally qualified candidates to fit their employment needs.

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Gen Y Coaching Corner

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Last week, The Globe & Mail published a guest essay written by Lauren Friese and Cassandra Jowett of TalentEgg titled “The six ways Generation Y will transform the workplace”. In the essay, Friese and Jowett outline – as the title suggests – six ways Gen Y/Millenials (those born between 1981 and 2000) will ultimately influence corporate Canada as they assume leadership positions upon the mass retirement of baby boomers.

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3 HR Management Solutions for SMEs

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Earlier this month, Wallace Immen, staff writer for The Globe & Mail highlighted three HR areas where small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may face challenges in 2013.

In the article, Management challenges you can’t afford to ignore in 2013, Immen identified EngagementTurnover, and Leadership as the most concerning HR issues, as reported by a Forbes Insights survey for Deloitte & Touche LLP. With these three topics in mind, we would like to take this opportunity to offer our tips for SMEs that are looking to tackle these challenges while growing their business in the year ahead.

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