Canadian Government Grants to Hire Recent Graduates and Summer Students

Editor’s Note: Details of the Canada Summer Jobs program are subject to change at any time; details on this page were accurate as of the posting date. To learn about current program details, please contact Mentor Works or visit canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/youth-summer-job.

Spring is just around the corner and that means that hiring season is about to kick off. Many companies have already benefited from the popular Canada Summer Jobs program that will help them host summer students.

Every year, many Ontario small businesses utilize hiring grants to help offset the wages of a new hire. Most of these cost sharing programs will offer employers between $10,000 and $20,000 for hiring a recent graduate under the age of 30. This is a great opportunity to reduce the costs associated with a new hire, such as lost productivity during on-boarding and training.

If you’re hiring closer to an entry level position – something that requires less than 5 years’ experience – then a recent graduate could be a great option.

Some people may be hesitant to employ a recent graduate because they feel that the candidate might be inexperienced and therefore a poor fit for the role. However this isn’t necessarily the case, even when a candidate’s background doesn’t immediately look like a good fit.

‘Lack of Experience’ Is Often a False Perception when Hiring a Recent Graduate

Many employers may resist hiring a new graduate because the candidate lacks ‘necessary’ industry experience. If you’re hiring for a role that requires a significant amount of industry experience, then a recent grad would likely not be a good fit; however if you’re hiring closer to an entry level position – something that requires less than 5 years’ experience – then a recent graduate could be a great option.

Many post-secondary students gain valuable industry-applicable experience throughout their program. Some participate in professional development programs that directly relate to their career goals (engineering, computer science, web design), and in these cases the link between their education and career aspirations are much more aligned. Other recent graduates, who have enrolled in general education programs, will gather a valuable set of skills and experience in their course work, extracurriculars, and part-time work.

Related Blog: 6 Reasons to Hire a Recent Graduate – Businesses should hire new graduates for a variety of reasons. Shed your fear of hiring a recent post-secondary grad and find Canadian government funding to offset the cost of the graduate’s salary.

Employable Skills and Experience from Post-Secondary Education

Many of the activities students do such as attending classes, completing readings and assignments, and writing essays and exams demonstrate their skills. For one, completing a two-year college or four-year university program shows commitment and the ability to see a long-term job through to completion. This experience also provides skills that some experienced candidates may not have. These include:

Organizational Skills

Managing a full course load in college or university requires a valuable skill set. Students need to have very strong organization and time management skills to effectively manage the demands of 4-6 courses in a given semester. Each course will have varying time and effort demands on a student and they must be able to balance the workload for each course to ensure that assignments are completed on time.

Prioritization and Multitasking Skills

Preparing for tests and exams requires a strong ability to interpret, condense, synthesize, and prioritize information. Students need to know what their professors and instructors expect from them, then interpret the mass amount of information given to them to prioritize their studying and pass tests/exams. They need to be able to do this for 4-6 courses per semester – and almost all courses will have radically different subject matter (I once had a semester that included ancient philosophy and advanced statistics). Describing this as ‘strong multitasking ability’ would be an understatement.

Managerial Experience

Many students participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs and student government. Here, students gain valuable managerial skills that include budgeting and fiscal management, team organization/management, and event coordination.

Project Management and Team Management Experience

Some students highlight class projects or key assignments on their resume. Recruiters should pay attention to this. Many classes will have a culminating project, presentation, capstone, or research project. This requires dedication and commitment from a student to complete. It also shows an ability to work independently (when it’s an independent project) and as a team (when it’s collaborative). It proves the ability to take minimal instructions and complete a complex task, and above all, it shows that they have the ability to get the job done.

Critical Thinking Skills

Completing a post-secondary program shows that the candidate has critical thinking skills. Students often participate in discussion groups, seminars, and lecture sessions. They are bombarded with information, interpretations of information, and differing perspectives. For many in traditional liberal arts programs there’s no ‘right way’ to understand, interpret, or write about subject matter. Students in these programs need to learn how to interpret and critically think about information, formulate an argument, then persuasively advocate for a position based on logic and facts.

Recruiting Recent Graduates is a Safe Investment for Many Businesses

For positions that do not require specific technical education or complex certifications, a recent graduate may be an ideal fit. They have limited industrial experience, which also means that they may be a great fit for your work culture – they haven’t been exposed to potentially negative working environments and they may not come with a fixed mindset on how to do the job.

When you’re reviewing resumes this spring, I hope you’ll see the valuable experience gained in post-secondary education that can translate directly to your company.

If your business is interested in hiring a recent post-secondary graduate, a great place to start is by downloading Mentor Works’ free resource, How to Find and Recruit Top Talent. You’ll find human resources planning information as well as a comparison of the most popular job boards for finding candidates of all ages and experience levels.

Then, when you’re ready to hire a youth graduate, contact us using our Wage Subsidy Identifier and we’ll inform you of opportunities to reduce your payroll expenses via hiring grants and help you identify ways to provide government funded training to employees.

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Rob holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Western University, and has published articles in international journals as well as given presentations throughout Canada and Portugal. His area of expertise lies in advanced manufacturing, international development, export market development, and automotive manufacturing. As a Program Manager at Mentor Works, Rob works with business owners to obtain funding to meet their growth strategies. Prior to joining Mentor Works, Rob worked extensively in various academic roles, software and ICT sales and development roles, and in quality control roles in the automotive industry.

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