Did you catch our last Office Hours with the RBC Career Launch Program team?
We chatted with both the current RBC Career Launch Program team and Associates, learning about the application and interview process and exploring each of the program’s 3 egg-citing rotations!
You can read the transcript of the live event here.
When the 1-hour chat was over, we found many participants had additional questions they wanted to share with the RBC Career Launch Program team.
We’ve got the answers to those top questions right here!
Can you explain the process that led to the start of the RBC Career Launch Program?
An increasing number of young people are having difficulty entering the workforce and establishing themselves in sustainable careers. The unemployment rate nationally for youth aged 15 to 24 continues to be high in Canada. Our own research suggests that three-quarters of recent graduates say the lack of job experience is a barrier to establishing their careers. RBC’s Career Launch Program is a multi-year investment in breaking the ‘no experience-no job’ cycle. The program is part of RBC’s five-year $100 million Kids Pledge to support a wide range of programs for developing the whole child – in mind, body and spirit.
How has RBC ensured employees across the organization/in each rotation are ready to help Associates succeed?
We developed a comprehensive communication strategy for all employees to share information about the program and provide a clear line of sight between the program and RBC’s commitment to youth employment in Canada. We designed and delivered orientation webcasts for mentors and rotation managers to share details about the program, their role and the role of Associates. The tools and support system are available to set everyone up for success.
How much room is there for an Associate to influence the types of work they do or the tasks they complete in each rotation?
The program is designed to provide a meaningful and comprehensive first career experience for Associates. The three work rotations are set and Associates will not be able to choose the type of experience in each of these rotations. Associates do have influence over the types of community initiatives and special projects that they put their hand up for. These experiences help shape their experience.
What did RBC look for when identifying partners for the charitable rotation?
Participation in the RBC Career Launch Program is currently open to targeted RBC community partners across all participating cities. We invited these community partners to apply for an Associate based on a series of criteria that included providing a meaningful 3 month project-based assignment that would enable Associates to work independently and within a team environment. The project would also help the Associate develop skills in areas such as: collaboration, creative thinking, relationship building, impact and influence and making presentations.
What do members of the RBC team learn from working with Associates?
The program is turning out to be a reciprocal mentoring experience. RBC is learning what young people desire or need from their employers. Associates value flexibility in how they work and look for ways to create efficiencies and greater productivity within their roles. The Associates leverage their private social online networking community to share key learnings and identify solutions to enhance their productivity. Associates tell us they value RBC’s corporate citizenship initiatives and that they take part in them. Learning and development is also a key attraction for them.
Are there things a current student could do if they want to take part in the program in the future?
There are a number of attributes that will lead candidates to success as an RBC Career Launch Program Associate. These traits include:
Professionalism and a positive attitude
Commitment to quality in performing work
Experience serving people
The ability to communicate well and express ideas clearly
A commitment to setting and achieving goals
A team focus
We recommend that students understand the type of traits required for roles they may be interested in. They can then develop those traits through experiences such as becoming involved in school activities, volunteerism, and part-time jobs for example.
Is there a good way to show personal character in the essay?
Candidates can demonstrate their personality, as well as their ability to be creative by providing a unique solution to the problem and by clearly communicating their point. It is important for candidates to showcase that they’ve done their research to understand the problem, and that they’ve provided a well-thought out response to the essay question.
Does location play any part in making a candidate a stronger applicant?
If a candidate applied to one of the participating cities, then he or she must be able to work in that location.
Will the program support Associates in building a life-long relationship with RBC?
The one-year internship will expose participants to a variety of roles and environments within RBC allowing them to work alongside and network with RBC employees. Participants do have the opportunity to build relationships that can last a life-time.
How do you make sure that the program’s experiences are aligned with the changing needs of the job market?
The program solves the education to employment challenge facing many recent college and university graduates. It does so in three ways:
First, it helps participants gain business skills such as collaboration, communications, and critical thinking. It accomplishes this through work experiences that demand these skills as well as dedicated mentorship and support.
Second, it gives them access to a network and ability to build relationships with seasoned and influential professionals.
Third, it gives them exposure to, and practical hands-on work experience in, retail banking, in the not-for-profit sector and in a large corporate setting.
How do you see the program developing in 5 or 10 years?
We encourage other organizations in the public and private sectors to join us in this endeavour to instil confidence and enthusiasm in young graduates entering the workforce. We would be happy to share all elements of our program publically, including its design, objectives, selection criteria, targeted outcomes and anything else that will inspire broader participation in this kind of initiative. Resolving this challenge will require a concerted effort by many of us including Canada’s business leaders, employers and all levels of government to commit to youth employment.
Are there future areas of growth the RBC team has identified in the RBC Career Launch Program?
For the 2015 Program, we have expanded the number of participating cities and provinces from 13 and 4 to 16 and 7 respectively.
To what extent does the culture of the RBC Career Launch Program reflect the unique backgrounds of the Associates who take part in it?
We seek candidates who have the traits that are aligned to RBC’s vision values and culture.
RBC Career Launch Program Associate
Can you describe some of the challenges Associates face in the program?
“The RBC Career Launch Program offers a very unique experience to each Associate. Associates will achieve successes and overcome different challenges, each providing the opportunity for growth. The rotational nature of the program enables you to work in different roles, across different sectors, which can definitely challenge you and move you out of your comfort zone.”
Which is the most important rotation and why?
“One rotation is not more important than another because they each provide very different experiences. Whether you are learning the basics of the banking business at a branch or experiencing how a charity operates and impacts your community or developing skills fundamental to your own career path during your last rotation – it is really incumbent on you to get the most of this program. My advice is to have the mindset that all three rotations are equally important. This is how you will ensure you get the most value out of this program.”
Is this a good way to learn about finance/banking careers?
“The Career Launch Program has the potential to expose participants to many different areas within the bank but it is ultimately designed to help you get the type of first career experience you want and need. For instance, during first rotation, participants get to experience first-hand what it is like to work in a retail banking environment as a front-line staff member. If a career in finance/banking is what you are most interested in, then you will have the opportunity to learn more about these areas. Similarly, if you are more interested in business areas such as Communications or Human Resources, then there is opportunity for you to learn about careers in these fields as well.”
What goals or priorities should an Associate have as they enter the program?
“The type of experience you will gain from the RBC Career Launch Program is really dependent on you and what you want your first career journey to look like. Your goals and priorities should be personalized to best suit your needs. For me, I made it a goal for myself to not only network, but create a meaningful network by developing strong professional relationships. By goal setting, I have made it a priority to build connections from day one with individuals from across the organization. My network has grown exponentially and my connections are far more meaningful.”
How does RBC welcome new Associates to the team?
“The RBC Career Launch orientation was unlike any orientation I had been to before! Associates were welcomed to the team during a two-day, jammed packed event held in downtown Toronto. The session brought together all 100 Associates from across Canada as well as RBC executives and key-note speakers. Associates were able to network, learn about the program and practice invaluable skills that would help us throughout our first career experience. It was an inspiring welcome and we all walked away feeling completely excited and ready to begin our Career Launch journey.”
What’s the greatest strength or asset of the RBC Career Launch Program, and how do Associates benefit from this?
“The greatest strength of the RBC Career Launch Program is its rotational structure that enables Associates to spend time in three completely different business areas. This is not only the greatest strength of the program but it is what makes it unique and so beneficial to the Associates. As a new graduate, it is essential to your development to gain meaningful experience and this program sets you up to do so in three different environments, under one supportive umbrella.”
What’s the most important question for someone to ask themselves before applying to the program?
“Ask yourself this: am I ready to make the most of the opportunities available to me? The Career Launch Program may be comprised of three rotations but within each rotation are countless opportunities if you are looking for them. Ready yourself to embrace challenges, thrive on successes and learn every step of the way. Prepare yourself to dive outside of your comfort zone, seek opportunities and make the most of your time as an Associate.”
You can learn more about the RBC Career Launch Program here!
RBC is a Top Employer for Young People – Employee pride is the result from fulfilling a promise. We’ve won Top Employers for Young People and are proud of being able to make a difference, knowing that our contribution matters and that we have the opportunity to reach our potential. View more awards here.
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 40 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2013, we contributed more than $104 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $69 million and $35 million in sponsorships. Learn more at www.rbc.com/community-sustainability.
About the author
Elias Da Silva-Powell
is a Content, Marketing and Community Specialist at TalentEgg, as well as a two-time graduate of Queen's University. An avid bow-titan, he has been trying to bring whimsical neck wear back into the mainstream since 2008. He's around on Twitter: @EDSPowell and you can check out his profile on LinkedIn, and even G+.