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When the number of candidates far exceeds the number of entry-level positions, we’re left with underemployed and unemployed recent graduates.

A report published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario in 2014 revealed that less than one-quarter of employers posting entry-level positions would consider hiring a candidate with no experience, and that most of these employers required at least one year.

It’s no surprise a follow-up study discovered that close to 60 per cent of entry-level hires had three or more years of experience.

How does a recent graduate compete?

Recognized by Co-Operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL), National Co-Op Week celebrates members and organizations dedicated to offering those opportunities. CEWIL’s mission is to foster and advance post-secondary co-operative education and work-integrated learning in Canada

Co-operative education is a recognized way for students of many disciplines to graduate with relevant work experience and avoid the ‘no-experience-no-job’ cycle. There are many perceived benefits associated with co-operative education, including enhanced career decision-making, better workforce integration, assisting with academic learning, and helping students find their first job. Moreover, participation in co-op programs is generally associated with more favourable labour market outcomes.  This section focuses on the profile of co-operative education graduates, their labour market outcomes and relationship to earnings.” (Statistics Canada)

Co-ops are one of many types of work-integrated learning. By applying in-class education to real-work settings, recent graduates gain relevant and valuable early-career experience, add contacts to their professional network, and potentially face a less difficult transition from postsecondary institution to permanent, meaningful employment in their field of study.

Career Edge focuses its efforts on assisting four candidate segments (recent graduates, recent graduates with self-declared disabilities, skilled international workers, and Canadian Armed Forces Reservists) secure meaningful, permanent employment. Career Edge breaks their ‘no experience, no job’ cycle by offering work-integrated learning experiences within a paid internship model that include four key pillars: coaching/mentoring, on-the-job training, industry knowledge transfer, and networking – all proven to be necessary components of launching a successful career. Visit Career Edge’s current opportunities to kick-start your career with a leading employer!

Did You Know? The Ontario government is considering Bill 64, Protecting Interns and Creating a Learning Economy Act, 2016. The proposal was brought forth by Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West and critic for Women’s Issues, Education, and Advanced Education and Skills Development, to ensure intern rights are fulfilled and to create a highly skilled workforce.