Unemployed students living in London over the summer months have a new ally in their employment search.
London city council recently approved ‘Hire 1’, a new initiative designed to increase employment in the city.
Paul Hubert, Ward 8 councillor, is spearheading the program that seeks to encourage businesses in London to, as the name suggests, hire one extra employee.
Hubert noted that while implementing the idea in London was his idea, he took inspiration from similar programs in the United States.
“The employment figures in London were pretty discouraging, so I started looking at what initiatives were out there that could change attitudes [and] perceptions, and that could make an impact in a quick way,” he said. “The City of Atlanta has done something akin to this, as has Washington D.C. last fall. It seems like such a simple concept that can have a significant impact.”
It has been estimated that the program will create over 5,000 jobs if even a quarter of businesses in London participate.
The city will be working alongside the London Economic Development Corporation in an attempt to roll out ‘Hire 1’ by the time summer hits.
According to Robert Collins, director of workforce development for the LEDC, encouraging even small or medium-sized businesses to hire an extra worker will not be as challenging as one might expect in this difficult economic climate.
“What often happens is that employers often use alternative recruitment strategies—whether it be word of mouth, family and friends, or neighbourhood recruiting—rather than investing, necessarily, in traditional print or other media. This often means that people looking for work don’t get to hear about those jobs, as they’ve been filled,” Collins said. “If you don’t see postings and things of that nature, you start to believe that there aren’t jobs and that there isn’t hiring going on.”
A key strategy to ‘Hire 1’ is the promotion of government programs that ease the recruitment and training of new employees. Both Collins and Hubert were confident that when made aware of these municipal, provincial and federal programs, more local companies would agree to increase their hiring.
“Hiring a person is time consuming and often expensive. But by connecting employers with the resources already existing in the community, or [resources] that are offered by the federal or provincial governments, we can help them get the people that they need,” Hubert said.
Hubert was also optimistic about the ability for students living in London to take advantage of ‘Hire 1’.
“If we want to build the workforce of the future, students are a huge part of that. Even if it means creating a summer student opportunity—it’s an investment, it’s about tomorrow and you’re investing in that student,” he explained.
“I always have an intern and a summer student. In years gone by, I’ve had five or six. What I hope is that employers see the value in students. This is not about philanthropy, this is about the value that that individual can add to an organization.”