According to our latest report on Canada’s environmental sector
, over 48% of environmental employees work in small companies
with 20 employees or less. These small businesses form the backbone of Canadian environmental industries — their success impacts the overall success of the sector.
Yet despite their economic importance, many small businesses face a tough challenge finding the right staff. These companies need workers with well-rounded expertise and they often need to compete with larger organizations to attract qualified practitioners.
Wage-subsidy programs are one solution that can make a big difference for smaller businesses. Available programs like our International Environmental Youth Corps (IEYC)
offer employers up to $12,000 to hire a young professional for a permanent position related to environmental protection, resource management, or sustainability.
This type of program helps small businesses attract strong job candidates with competitive wages, and it also helps them keep these new employees with great training and professional development opportunities.
According to Bruce Blackwell, Principal of B.A. Blackwell & Associates Ltd
, “As a small, private business, we were not able to take on a new employee without a wage subsidy. The IEYC wage subsidy program allowed us to employ an intern and provide him with training.”
If you’re an employer in a smaller organization, read on to discover how Bruce’s firm was able to make the most of the IEYC wage-subsidy program and hire a keen junior engineer.
What motivated your company to participate in the IEYC wage subsidy program? What barriers did the wage subsidy help overcome?
Our company was approached by an approved IEYC intern. The IEYC intern was interested in working with our company, however as a small, private business, we were not able to take on a new employee without a wage subsidy. The IEYC wage subsidy program allowed us to employ an intern and provide him with training.
Describe the position your intern was hired for. What did his or her role encompass?
Our intern was hired to join our forest engineering group. His primary role was to work as a junior engineer while he was being trained.
How difficult was it to train and integrate your intern into this role?
Our intern displayed a strong ability to learn and integrate into our operations. Although our intern did not have any related past work experience, he was able learn quickly and work efficiently.
What made your internship successful?
Our internship would not have been possible without the wage subsidy. Our internship was made successful by having the funds available to train our intern, and our intern’s motivation and ability to learn was a great asset.
Is your intern currently working as a full-time employee in your organization?
Our intern was hired for a full-time permanent position following the end of his internship. He is a great asset to our team.
Overall, what would you say are the main benefits to hiring an intern? What are the challenges?
The main benefit of hiring an intern was the ability to provide training with the wage subsidy. Our company did not have any significant challenges considering we needed to expand our team but were constrained with the associated financial costs of training a new employee for a technical position.
Would you recommend this program to other employers in your industry?
We would most definitely recommend this program to other employers in our industry.
What advice would you give to employers who are planning to recruit a young professional?
Our experience with our intern was a great success with no negative experience, however, recruiting the right candidate is important. Our success was attributed to the intern’s keen interest in forestry and working with our company.