If you’ve been following our conversation with RBC’s Rehana Ciriani, you’ve learned about the challenges facing students and recent graduates looking to launch their careers.
Rehana has described the importance of 21st-century skills, as well as the role that coaching and mentorship, networking and personal development play in building career momentum.
Having shared her insights as Director of RBC’s Career Launch™ Program, Rehana is thrilled to invite recent grads to take part in a new and innovative program designed to accelerate careers for youth across Canada.
Hands on with the program
Today marks the kickoff of the RBC Career Launch Program, a new year-long, first career experience designed for recent college and university graduates (age 24 and under) across Canada.
Over the course of the next three years, this year-long program will give more than 300 recent graduates of accredited colleges and universities the opportunity to gain in-demand skills through hands-on experience.
“We hope to show recent graduates that launching their career at RBC is a great opportunity,” Rehana says, “an opportunity that will harness their energy, build their confidence and put their career on the fast track.”
RBC’s Career Launch Program welcomes applicants from all academic backgrounds, just one part of RBC’s commitment to improving the hiring landscape for recent graduates.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to help young grads gain practical hands-on business experience combined with mentorship, networking, learning and community engagement,” explains Rehana.
Growing a great idea
According to Rehana, the Career Launch Program grew out of RBC’s ongoing engagement with the challenges facing graduates and young job seekers in Canada.
“We designed this program knowing that youth unemployment is presently one of Canada’s most concerning economic and social challenges, and that the potential of our youth is also one of this country’s greatest resources.”
She explains that RBC conducted research that revealed that more than one-fifth (21%) of recent college and university graduates still have not yet found a job, while 39 per cent of recent graduates cite a lack of experience posed a major barrier to finding a first job. In addition, 77 per cent indicated lack of connections or access to professional networks as a barrier as well.
“With this research in hand, we explored how we as an organization could make a difference, inspire confidence and build career momentum,” says Rehana.
It’s a complex set of overlapping issues. Today’s youth offer a wealth of soft skills but lack the experience required to demonstrate their value in the workplace. Without a professional network or informed understanding of the working world, it can be all but impossible for them to reach the first rung on the career ladder.
Steps to success
The RBC Career Launch Program is structured around three key experiences, or rotations, designed to provide a valuable resume-building experience for RBC Career Launch Associates.
“These three distinct rotations supported by robust learning and coaching/mentoring will activate the Associate’s education and serve to bridge their learning from school to work,” Rehana explains.
The goal is to provide a first career experience that broadens a candidate’s base of practical skills and soft skills so that they can land better roles faster as their career progresses.
By giving candidates from diverse backgrounds the ability to get hands-on experience, develop key skills and expand their professional network, the RBC Career Launch program will help Canadian youth overcome the major career challenges before them.
Learning the ropes
This first rotation will provide hands-on sales and service experience serving retail banking clients through participating Canadian RBC Royal Bank branches.
“This part of the program offers work experience and deep appreciation for how RBC seeks to meet our clients’ needs on a daily basis.” Rehana adds.
Helping the community
The next rotation of the RBC Career Launch program taps into the youth commitment to making a difference and deploys some of the skills they’ve learned for the benefit of local communities.
“Associates will gain exposure to the operations of a not-for-profit organization and apply practical business skills contributing value to the organization and the communities and causes it serves,” Rehana says.
This component is a key part of RBC’s commitment to providing a well-rounded skill-building experience that will help Associates build their own personal citizenship. “This rotation is also an opportunity for Associates to build their networks,” Rehana explains, “fostering relationships for professional and personal development.”
Taking it to the next level
The third program rotation will give candidates further exposure to the variety of roles in organizations today and the opportunity to work in one of RBC’s broad-based business areas, for example marketing, technology, human resources, finance, risk and operations.
“During this time, Associates will provide project-based support in team-oriented environments to help these departments meet short- and long-term objectives,” Rehana elaborates.
These three rotations make up just part of the whole program.
“In addition to practical hands-on business experience,” she explains, “RBC Career Launch Associates will benefit from a robust learning curriculum, mentorship and networking opportunities with RBC colleagues that will help them to prepare for their careers beyond their year at RBC.”
Over the course of the next three years RBC will provide this first career experience to young graduates of all programs across Canada, as part of RBC’s larger ongoing commitment to kids and youth programs. The first 100 Career Launch Associates will be selected in December and will be set to start in January 2014.
Launching your career
Starting October 8th, you can access the RBC Career Launch Program by clicking here.
To be eligible for the program, you must be a graduate of an accredited college or university and age 24 or under as of December 31, 2013.
Opportunities will be available in 13 cities across Canada.
If you’re successful in the first stage of the application process, you’ll be given the opportunity to participate in a pre-screening call and interview. The final stage of the assessment process involves an interview with a local panel group consisting of internal staff from RBC and external community partners.
The program will have a formal start in January 2014.
Rehana says that part of what makes the Career Launch Program so compelling is its diverse range of opportunity.
“We believe that our culture and values provide a great foundation for building a career. An RBC Career Launch Associate will be introduced to a variety of teams and gain exposure to wide variety of roles at RBC.”
Candidates will have the opportunity to learn about work in the retail banking business as well as exploring business and support teams at RBC. Each experience will help students explore different skills that are essential to the business world, including teamwork and client service.
The program also makes candidate integration a major focus, Rehana adds. “Supplementing their experience will be the mentorship and networking opportunities they’ll receive to ensure they receive the guidance and career development that will put their careers on the fast-track.”
RBC’s short-term goals are initiating the project and getting students involved. “In our first year, we want to build momentum and awareness with candidates of all academic disciplines,” Rehana explains, “so they can see the valuable opportunities present in large organizations today.”
The program’s long-term goals have a wide scope and focus. “In time,” Rehana says, “we hope to generate dialogue and interest from other Canadian employers and engage them in creative, collaborative solutions to support Canada’s youth.”