This week is National Volunteer Week, a time to acknowledge the generosity and support of individuals, organizations and sectors who work together towards a common purpose to make an impact and better our community. 

Here at NPower Canada, our generous corporate volunteers give back in more ways than one. Over the course of the last year, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and significant effects on businesses and individuals alike, our corporate volunteers have donated their time to NPower Canada’s IT workforce development program. This includes coaching, mentoring, and inspiring our deserving youth participants and alumni across our six national delivery sites.

NPower Canada’s Youth in Tech Mentorship Program

In June 2020, NPower Canada and Microsoft partnered to develop a diverse pool of digital talent to better prepare underserved, low-income young adults for the jobs of tomorrow.

A proud grant recipient of Microsoft’s Global Skills Initiative, NPower Canada is using the investment to deliver a new MS Data & AI training stream in 2021, providing inclusive, equitable access to skills to 400 young people for roles in data analysis, cloud and AI scripting.

As part of this innovative upskilling program, Microsoft staff volunteer their time to directly engage, coach, and inspire our program participants through an array of professional development initiatives. A significant example of this is Microsoft’s deep involvement in NPower Canada’s Youth in Tech Mentorship Program, a one-on-one, ongoing mentorship initiative connecting youth aspiring to launch their careers in the world of tech with Microsoft professionals who can provide invaluable insights into the IT industry and share the critical skills and experiences needed to find a meaningful and sustainable tech-related job.

Thanks to Microsoft’s engagement in the program, NPower Canada has been able to pair nearly 30 youth participants and recent program alumni (and counting!) with experienced tech professionals, where they’ve been able to obtain career advice and encouragement, discuss strategies for success at work, and further refine their career goals and objectives.

To celebrate and showcase the impact of our Youth in Tech Mentorship Program, we are sharing some testimonials from our participating Microsoft mentors and youth mentees, illustrating just how valuable mentors can be to program participants and new graduates preparing for employment.

Quotes from Mentees:

“The best moments I had with my mentor were when she shared her personal and professional life struggles, which made me realize how similar we are in so many ways. Our regular conversations helped me grow immensely, both personally and professionally. These conversations also gave me the confidence to pursue my career and she is the reason I am currently happily employed!”

Tyler B, NPower Canada JITA Program Alumni

“I really appreciate the time that my mentor spends speaking with me and I felt much less alienated knowing she is there to reach out to. She has created a safe environment for me to ask questions and has a level of patience that makes me feel at ease. She has also provided me with many resources that have been a great help with improving my resume, cover letter and interviewing skills.”

Leena S, NPower Canada JITA Program Youth Participant 

Quotes from Mentors:

“I have really enjoyed being a mentor through NPower Canada’s Youth in Tech Mentorship program. My mentee and I have been meeting on a bi-weekly basis for the past 5 months. She’s enthusiastic, engaged and fully prepared for each of our conversations. I am thrilled that we were paired up, and I know that she has a bright future ahead of her.”

-Lori L., Cloud Solutions Architect, Microsoft

“It’s been rewarding to be able to share my experience with someone at the beginning of their career journey to help accelerate their ability to get started in Tech”.

-Haydn R, Principal Product Manager, Microsoft

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, youth graduates and job-seekers, particularly underrepresented minorities and equity-seeking groups, are in need of additional support and encouragement to navigate this current crisis and obtain meaningful sustainable employment. During National Volunteer Week, NPower Canada wants to thank and acknowledge Microsoft and our dedicated Microsoft volunteers for supporting and empowering NPower Canada’s youth in tech.