It is well documented that silos in an organization create barriers that isolate departments, teams, and employees. Silos negatively impact the workforce’s ability and motivation to share ideas, knowledge and resources. This creates a segregated organizational culture, forms information gaps in the organization’s infrastructure, and reduces employee productivity and engagement.
It’s no surprise then, that silos between job seekers, employers, and the organizations and educational institutions that support them have similar effects in terms of employment outcomes. Now more than ever, we need to bridge those silos between organizations, employers, and the employable to support economic recovery for all on the heels of COVID-19.
The first event in the Building Future Ready Communities: Virtual Tour series launched on June 28th, 2021 in English and June 29th, 2021 in French, with host province New Brunswick.
Stronger Together: Breaking silos to support job seekers and employers brought together New Brunswick leaders as they shared their organizational and personal learnings and initiatives to support economic recovery for all on the heels of COVID-19.
Introduced by Mark Patterson, Executive Director, Magnet and moderated by Chantal Brine, CEO, EnPoint, the event featured panelists:
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the sessions to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
Consider our summary of key takeaways from the session packed full of insight, stories and advice and let us know what you think:
1. What comes to mind when you think about ‘building future ready communities’?
A highlight of the conversation was that future communities need to be co-created. It is important to foster strong multilayered partnerships built on mutual trust and respect, while engaging all parts of the community so that you have representation from all the individuals that are participating or want to participate in the workforce. Inclusion and diversity are key to creating a future for the province, region and country that is co-owned by everyone. We all have a role to play in building the future of work in the present.
A salient point discussed was the further integration of education and workplaces. There is a continuum, as individuals are not only building future skills, but also putting them into practice, which leads to ripple effects for employers as well as the education system.
Building future ready communities is a shared investment and so is applicable to anyone doing work in a future building space. Consider the Journey 2050 initiative, a virtual farm simulation that explores world food sustainability. It describes the situation where by 2050, there will be 10 billion people living on the planet. From a food and agriculture perspective, the question is how we can feed all these people without destroying the planet? This global citizenship lens applies to all sectors and it is important to have the diversity of skills and perspective to create innovative solutions. Building future ready communities is more than just the economic aspect, it’s about being a global citizen.
It is important to create dialogue between different stakeholders and groups of people. In particular, including a variety of Millennials in discussions in order to learn more about how they see themselves in the workplace, what needs to be changed and what can be done to keep them in the province. Actively engaging and working with the groups you aim to serve is key in building future ready communities young people want to be a part of.
2. What is the most memorable “success story” you’ve experienced when you think about how your organization/members/community have contributed to ‘building future ready communities’?
Discussion highlighted the resilience of Canadians not only in surviving COVID-19, but also finding ways to thrive and grow their businesses through successful partnership and collaboration. From job seekers to institutions to community partners and employers, successful partnership is when everyone understands that they have a role to play in the future of work, and can find ways to meaningfully contribute to that success.
An example of this is the Future Link program, where organizations have been able to leverage meaningful support in the form of an intern during a critical time for their business. Being able to use this support helped them figure out how to ride the wave of COVID-19 by collaborating to find innovative solutions. Not only are employers benefiting through Future Link, but so are student interns who get to experience eight different projects working with different businesses, their teams, and workplace cultures, and the five participating Chambers of Commerce who are learning through this program as well. [Hear directly from some of the Future Link interns here.]
Another is the adaptability of Future NB’s opportunities for employers to engage in hiring and learning from students across the province. Through a variety of types of experiential learning opportunities, employers can transfer real time labour market information to youth in a way that works for both parties. With a number of ways that employers can access young talent, the outcome is to create a shared vision and network between youth, education and institutions as early as possible. [Check out more of their success stories here.]
From our young professional panelists perspective, success looks like a shared vision and connection:
3. In your view, what do you see as the primary role that each of us has to play in building future ready communities?
We think this quote from Rachel summarizes much of the feedback on this question nicely: “Future NB does not belong to one, it belongs to all.”
It’s important that people understand that we all have a role to play, no matter which seat we are in or which hat we are wearing. We all have a role to play in building future communities so that every person that wants to participate in the workforce can, and is provided equal opportunity to do that. There is a mindset required by each and every one of us to understand that we are playing a role, and accountability to ensure that the actions we take demonstrate that role.
Mentorship has a role to play in this when we’re at work, particularly when we think about internships for students and/or any work experiential learning or training programs.
Panelists advised job seekers, particularly students, to get involved in the community by, for example, sitting on a board and/or finding meaningful volunteering opportunities.
Diversity and inclusion are important when it comes to the future of New Brunswick. The importance of ‘intercultural curiosity’, in stepping out of your comfort zone and asking questions, was emphasized as an integral part of welcoming newcomers in the workforces and communities in the province.
The importance of connecting with and involving all stakeholders, asking the right questions, and acting proactively (and not reactively) were highlighted as key activities to limit an imbalance in the job market in terms of number and type of offered positions compared to available candidates.
4. Given the world around us and the evolving dialogue around the “future of work” and “future skills”, what resources would you suggest to help people adapt in their careers? And/or to employers looking to adapt their workplaces in these times?
For job seekers, students, and professionals:
5. What resource(s) have been instrumental in shaping your view on the future of work?
Our panelists and event organizers have shared these resources for you to reference to learn more about building communities to help support job seekers, employers and institutions in the future of work are:
To wrap up, what stood out throughout the discussions was the importance of understanding that we all have a role to play in building future ready communities and that we must take action, no matter how big or small. It is our job to find ways to do that by looking at the existing gaps, examining things that may be uncomfortable and understanding that there really isn’t any other choice other than to evolve and build a future of work that we can be proud of.
We look forward to hearing your ideas and celebrating the actions you are taking in your communities, workplaces and institutions to contribute to building future ready communities. The below are provided to help kickoff the discussion!
Guiding discussion questions:
About the panelists:
Rachel Brown, Director of Post-Secondary Relations, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick:
Having served GNB for over 24 years, Rachel has lead a variety of provincial programs, initiatives and teams within the departments of Social Development, Education and Early Childhood Development and most recently with PETL; she currently co-leads along with multiple provincial partners the Future NB/Future Wabanaki initiative, along with supporting the province’s post-secondary sector both publicly funded and privately owned as well as managing funding agreements such as but not limited to medical school programs in partnership with Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia), Université de Sherbrooke (Quebec), the Department of Health and other jurisdictions.
Future NB – Avenir NB
Future NB’s mandate is to ensure that experiential education is embedded in New Brunswick’s education system from early childhood to end of post-secondary studies. It’s goals are:
Stephane Siroi, Program Coordinator, Future Link:
Stephane Sirois is the Future Link Program Coordinator. Prior to this, Stephane was the provincial Coordinator of the Agriculture in the classroom program, the Executive Director of Cedici, an innovative social enterprise school food service provider, and Chair of the grant making committee at the Fredericton Community Foundation.
Future Link helps engage students in experiential learning experiences allowing them to apply their learning in new contexts and begin to understand how their learning can have tangible impact on themselves, their future personal and professional goals, and on the communities around them.
For employers, the program helps them access student talent to develop their workforce, start new or expand current projects, and recruit and retain potential new employees. Meaningful connections with students help employers to continue to do great work today and plan for tomorrow’s needs at the same time.
Kirsten MacLellan, Business Support Intern, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, and Student, St. Thomas University:
Originally from Truro, Nova Scotia, Kirsten is currently living in Fredericton, studying at St. Thomas University. This Fall, she will enter her final year studying Political Science, English, and Native Studies. As a Future Link NB Business Support Intern placed at the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Kristen works with and supports various Chamber members developing action plans and solutions to help their businesses grow. Kristen believes in the value of mentorship having worked in Northern Alberta as a Special Needs EA and has volunteered as a Big Bunch Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. She has also served on the Northern Lights Regional Humane Society board and has volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse and The Canadian Ski Patrol.
Kenza Bennouna, Financial Advisor and Recent Graduate, Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB)
Kenza is a graduate of CCNB. Born and raised in Marrakech, Morocco. She traveled over 8000 miles to study in Canada
Since taking the big step of moving to a foreign country by herself and graduating with a degree in Finance, she has been involved in making a difference in her new community. She’s now working as a Financial Advisor in Miramichi. Not only she got involved in several volunteer work but also, she started building the first international student association. When the pandemic started, Kenza felt under represented as an international student so she started reaching out to people and thinking of ways to help her pairs. Today, she is one of the ISA leaders, the first International Student Association that is here to help students all over NB and has a goal to reach student all over Canada to make them feel home. Besides that, she’s building her career in Finance and continue enjoying making a difference in people’s life.