Given the shortage of skilled labour in various industries, Quebec businesses often face significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of their staff. For this reason, it’s crucial to integrate newcomers into the labour market and to introduce young people, as early as possible, to the career opportunities that are open to them, while supporting their progress. Internships are an excellent way to address this issue.
Internships with newcomers
Today, 87% of the immigrant population lives in the metropolitan area. Given the current context, the business community needs to more effectively reach out to this skilled workforce. The challenge is to properly equip all businesses to assess the experience and qualifications on immigrants' CVs. The difficulty that some businesses have in reading the CVs of recently-immigrated candidates too often results in their being eliminated from the selection process. Furthermore, organizations often want references, which newcomers in search of their first work experience don't have.
One of the solutions is to offer internships, as institutions like BDC and Sodexo are already doing, as well as SMEs like Maxxam, Stradigi and Le Grand Costumier.
"I have hosted several interns. Being more open to immigrants means being more open to the reality of Montréal, which is reflected in our services. This is in fact good for businesses, because we get to know candidates over the period of a month. Also, if there are certain entry barriers, it allows candidates to overcome these."
Specifically, these internships enable businesses to:
- More quickly find qualified professionals that match the desired profiles;
- Maximize and facilitate their recruitment process;
- Strengthen their employer brand by leveraging the value of diversity;
- Help qualified and experienced residents to develop their career in Quebec in their field.
If you’re finding it difficult to enter the workforce and would like to receive support, programs such as Interconnection are here to help you. They give companies the opportunity to benefit from the professional skills of a qualified newcomer for short periods, without a hiring obligation, while also helping them discover new talent.
"Since 2012, Devrun has taken part in the Interconnection program time and again and has hired several members of staff at the end of their internships, with a view to exceeding the current trends and placing us among the industry leaders. This has allowed us to be at the cutting edge and has given the company a fresh impetus."
The result? Businesses are enriched by the integration of diversity into their organization, as Jonathan Roy, President of the Devrun Web Agency underlines: "At Devrun, we believe in cultural diversity. It enriches our vision and our international trade."
Since 2010, the Interconnection program has enabled more than 2500 internships with newcomers, giving a great number of businesses the opportunity to discover the full potential of a diverse workforce.
>> More information on the Interconnection program
Internships for the next generation
There's nothing better than an immersive professional experience to help young people move towards the right career. With the aim of preventing school dropout and guarding against a labour shortage, businesses can take part in various initiatives offered in Montréal that are designed to inspire young people through work placements. It’s an opportunity to discover various career sectors and professions in a hands-on way.
"Most young people are probably not even aware that these professions exist. This is the best way to convey the culture and vision of a company over the course of a week."
Justin Lortie, Founder of Wedge
Internships for the next generation allow businesses to:
- Inform interns about their organization, industry, trades and professions;
- Convey their enthusiasm and knowledge;
- Contribute to preparing the next generation;
- Help young people make informed career choices.
"It's a breath of fresh air. It can help you question ways of doing things, old habits. They’ll ask you questions, asking you to explain things that you do and for which you could review your procedures and processes."
The Student Business program, led by Montréal Relève, offers this pairing opportunity, and nothing is left to chance in the organization of internships. Volunteer students attend preparation workshops throughout the year, and a team dedicated to partnerships supports business mentors in the preparation of internships.
"What was great is that I was also supported, so that I knew how to ensure a great week for these trainees."
Since 2001, the Student Business program piloted by Montréal Relève has allowed 15,000 young people aged 14 to 17 to carry out a career exploration internship in one of the 1000 partner organizations covering 18 industries.
>> Read more about the Student Business program
In conclusion, while internships are an opportunity for the business community to guard against labour shortages, they are also a great way to contribute to the integration of diversity and to take action in the prevention of school dropout, while identifying new talent and remaining competitive internationally.