A growing number of Canadian businesses are beginning to introduce work placement programs to help offset the growing unemployment numbers in the east coast provinces. These programs are aimed at paving the way for university graduates to find employment once they have completed their studies.
In Canada, the Atlantic Provinces, which are comprised of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, continually suffer from high unemployment rates, in part as a result of the seasonal fishing industry.
This year, unemployment numbers in the region spiked higher due to the instability in the oil and gas sector, an industry many east coasters depend on for employment during the off season.
According to the latest economic indicators reported from Statistics Canada, the Maritime Provinces continue to lag behind the rest of the country in terms of economic prosperity and employment.
The June unemployment figures for the Maritimes also reflect the financial stagnation the provinces are fighting, with Atlantic Canada reporting the four highest unemployment rates of the provinces in June 2016.
“12 percent of Newfoundland and Labrador’s labour force is looking for work, well above the national rate of 6.8 per cent,” states the report. “P.E.I. had the second highest unemployment rate at 11 percent, followed by New Brunswick at 10.3 percent and Nova Scotia at 8.2 percent.”
In an effort to combat the high unemployment rates in Atlantic Canada, a number of educational institutes and universities are partnering with corporate Canada to ensure students and graduates have the skills they need to get jobs.
One of those programs, which was unveiled this year, is the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Program (USSRP) at Newfoundland’s Memorial University. The program is specifically designed for undergraduate pharmacology students, and students from disciplines related to pharmacy research.
“We have been making a concerted effort over the past few years to promote our graduate programs, and the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Program is something we’re really proud of and look forward to being able to offer for many years to come,” said Dr. John Weber, associate dean of graduate studies and research.
The USSRP will also serve in some ways as an ambassadorship program promoting the specialized education offered at Memorial University. “We have a diverse graduate research program here in the School of Pharmacy that many people don’t know about,” added Dr. Weber.
The inaugural program, which is attracting media attention on and off the island, has been made possible by an unrestricted financial partnership between Memorial University and Apotex, Canada’s leading generic drug manufacturer.
Apotex is committed to the long-term promotion of research and education. In Ontario, the company hosts and sponsors the annual James Hillier Foundation Scholarships for students pursuing careers in medical and pharmacological research. The science-focused scholarships are awarded during Innovation Days, a yearly celebration held at the Apotex Pharmachem building in Brantford.
Returning to the USSRP, not only will Apotex help fund the USSRP, the company will also be a primary target for graduates seeking jobs once they have completed their studies.
“We want the teaching and learning aspect of this program to be long lasting and to have impact, we don’t want them to just forget what they’ve learned when the summer program ends,” said Dr. Carlo Marra, dean of the School of Pharmacy at Memorial.