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RBC Foundation Commits $3.5 Million To Help Prepare Youth for Inclusive and Sustainable Jobs of Tomorrow

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RBC Foundation announced a combined donation of $3.5 million over five years to three Waterloo Region post-secondary institutions: University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. Powered by RBC Future Launch, the funds will help develop programs with work integrated learning opportunities to help support “green” collar work1 and inclusivity in the skilled trades.

This collaboration is part of RBC Future Launch’s 10-year, $500 million commitment to helping Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. Graduates from these programs will have the capabilities to contribute to Canada’s skills revolution and be among the next generation of leaders in sustainability and the skilled trades industries.

“By investing in our students, we are investing in our future. Supporting the trades and “green” skills learning is key to preparing youth for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Claude DeMone, Regional President, Southwestern Ontario, RBC. “It is estimated that 15 per cent of Canada’s labour force is expected to be disrupted over the next 10 years as we transition to a net-zero economy. There is an urgent need for businesses and governments to step up and do more. That’s why we are partnering with three of Canada’s respected post-secondary institutions, to help prepare youth for the future world of work.”

The donation includes $2 million to help launch a new interdisciplinary degree program at the University of Waterloo – the Bachelor of Sustainability and Finance Management – which will be the first of its kind in Canada. As part of this program, the funds will help establish a network of mentorship and experiential learning opportunities and develop a hub for sustainability integration which will connect students with faculty and industry partners to create a forum for sharing knowledge and research.

“We see enormous opportunity for sustainable finance to drive the changes our society needs – including a healthier planet and more inclusive, more prosperous communities,” said Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “We thank RBC for building on our incredible 40-year partnership to offer young people the opportunity to gain the experience and expertise they will need to tackle the challenge of creating a sustainable future.”

Over the next five years, RBC Foundation’s $850,000 commitment to Wilfrid Laurier University will support new programming in the area of climate change management. More specifically, the donation will support the development of specific experiential learning, research and teaching opportunities with the goal of preparing students for critical emerging jobs.

“We are excited to partner with RBC Foundation in the development of programming in climate change management, a key component of our goal to advance planetary health,” says Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy. “We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with RBC, which has aimed to develop leaders who thrive through change and generate solutions to the challenges of our time. Climate change is a pressing issue, and this partnership is a response to supporting planetary health and effecting positive outcomes.”

The funds will provide access to community-centred learning events for students, and the opportunity for students to work alongside university researchers and Indigenous leaders who are developing climate change adaptation strategies in the Northwest Territories. Graduates will be trained to help lead Canada on its journey to net-zero.

RBC Foundation’s $650,000 donation to Conestoga College will be directed to its ongoing efforts to help change the current perception of what it is like to learn and work within the skilled trades, recruit youth from marginalized communities, and enhance career support resources for new skilled trades professionals.

“We are deeply grateful to RBC and the RBC Foundation for their partnership and investment in Conestoga and our students,” said John Tibbits, President of Conestoga. “Funding received through RBC Future Launch will provide opportunities for young people across Canada to discover their potential and launch successful skilled trades careers. It will also contribute to the well-being and prosperity of our communities by building an essential talent pipeline to address urgent skilled workforce needs.”

The funding will support the national roll-out of Jill of All TradesTM, a targeted one-day program developed by Conestoga that will introduce more than 14,000 young women across Canada to the potential of skilled trades careers. The funding will also be used to establish a Skilled Trades Talent Development hub to help individuals from underrepresented groups develop skills for success in the workplace, and create pathways to entrepreneurship through Conestoga’s Entrepreneurship Collective for skilled trades professionals hoping to launch or build their own businesses.

Source: Royal Bank of Canada

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