Propel

Tourism HR Canada is pleased to announce that Propel, its Student Work Placement Program, has been extended for an additional two years, thanks to generous funding from the Government of Canada. The program is actively accepting applications for the upcoming summer semester.

Launched last August, Propel has already connected hundreds of post-secondary students with meaningful, paid work-integrated learning placements and provided hard-hit tourism and hospitality employers with wage subsidies to support these placements.

With the lifting or easing of many pandemic health and travel measures, Canada’s tourism employers are looking ahead to a busier summer season, but are facing a depleted workforce. The latest Statistics Canada data shows close to 300,000 fewer tourism employees than in the month before the pandemic hit.

Propel provides a direct link to early talent looking for hands-on experience and the opportunity to explore career pathways in the sector. Engaging these students will play an essential role in the immediate recovery of the visitor economy and ensure the ongoing growth of a skilled workforce.

Starting April 1, 2022, several changes will apply to the full spectrum of Student Work Placement Programs.

  • Wage subsidies are available as follows:
    • Up to 50% of wages or up to $5,000 to provide students with meaningful WIL opportunities.
    • Up to 70% of wages or up to $7,000 to provide students with meaningful WIL opportunities for the following under-represented students: women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Indigenous students, persons with disabilities, visible minorities and newcomers; as well as first-year students.
  • Post-secondary institutions are no longer eligible to participate as employers.
  • Employers who have previously participated in the program may be subject to “net new” requirements and need to demonstrate a projected increase in the number of students hired.

For full details on the Propel Student Work Placement Program and a link to the application portal, please visit the program webpage or email propel@tourismhr.ca.

Tourism HR Canada invites employers, students, and educators to a virtual info session for its Propel Student Work Placement Program on Wednesday, January 19, at 1:00pm Eastern Time.

Propel offers tourism and hospitality employers access to up to $7,500 in wage subsidies when they hire a post-secondary student for work-integrated learning: an internship, a co-op placement, a work experience placement, and more.

The many benefits? Students gain paid hands-on learning and mentoring in their field of study. Employers acquire much-needed early talent to help with the recovery of the industry, as well as assistance with wages. Post-secondary institutions complement their programming by connecting students and the workplace.

Join this one-hour virtual session to learn:
• What work-integrated learning is, why it matters, and how it can benefit your business
• Who qualifies for the Propel program
• Where to post a job
• How to apply for a wage subsidy
• What information you’ll need
• When the subsidy is available
• How Tourism HR Canada can support you

A Q&A component will follow the presentation. Registrants can submit questions in advance via the registration form.

Join Tourism HR Canada on Wednesday, January 19, at 1:00pm Eastern for a full look at this newly available program to support the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector.

Click here to register.

This program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program.

Students can bring fresh perspectives and welcome enthusiasm to the organizations who hire them while helping to reduce the workload. Failure to prepare, however, can result in unmet expectations and wasted time for both student and employer. As Propel accepts applications from tourism sector businesses interested in participating in our winter Student Work Placement Program, we offer the following friendly advice for maximizing the experience.

Plan a List of Tasks Ahead of Time

Ideally, a work placement (internship, co-op, apprenticeship, or other paid work-integrated learning initiative) will be a win-win for both student and employer. In order to accomplish this, provide your student with real tasks, not just busy work. Brainstorm a list of duties and potential duties in advance. Start your student off with simpler, less crucial tasks, and allow them the opportunity to graduate to more difficult and consequential work. From the student’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a corner, ignored. They’ll fail to gain the experience they seek, and the resulting word of mouth may be damaging to your future recruitment efforts.

Communicate Your Objectives and Expectations on Day One

Greet your student with an open and honest conversation about the road ahead. Provide them with a job description and seek feedback. If you intend to provide special training, now’s the time to let them know. Part of their objective will be to receive a strong letter of recommendation at the conclusion of the work placement, so it’s helpful to spell out expectations and discuss how performance will impact the nature of your potential endorsement. Remember, a work placement is about gaining experience, so base your appraisal around attitudes such as willingness to learn, as opposed to perfect execution.

Provide Your Student with Valuable Exposure 

Think ahead: will there be meetings, conferences, or special events during your student’s term? Could they be included? If possible, expose them to multiple leaders in various roles. Bring them into the loop and give them an opportunity to make professional connections.

Designate Them an Enthusiastic Mentor 

A student can be a resource, but also requires an investment of time. The student’s experience will be enriched if they are mentored by an individual who makes an honest effort to interact in a meaningful way. Students who are tossed around the workplace like a hot potato will fail to gain needed career advice. While other staff members should be encouraged to interact and share perspectives with the student, they shouldn’t compete haphazardly for their time.

Ultimately, your company may wish to hire the student on a more permanent basis. A strong mentorship relationship will help your company gain a more complete understanding of their potential, and may encourage the student to stick around.

Invite Your Student to Share

Harness your student’s enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Ask them about their motivations and areas of interest. Encourage them to ask questions on an ongoing basis. They may have a hidden talent that benefits your business!

Maximize the Programs and Resources Available

The Propel Student Work Placement Program is now accepting applications from businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector that are interested in hiring a student for the winter term. Qualifying employers will be provided with a wage subsidy of up to $7,500 for each student hired through the program. For more information, or to sign up for a virtual info session, please visit PropelCareers.ca.

Additional tools and programs are offered in partnership with Tourism HR Canada. Emerit Tourism Training supports a wide range of tourism-related occupations with National Occupational Standards, online and paper-based training, and professional certification for tourism employers and students. Please visit emerit.ca for the full list.

By Joe Baker, Tourism HR Canada Board Member

This article was originally published in STAY Magazine.

I was born into Canada’s hospitality industry. My grandfather was a hotelier and restaurateur.  He owned and operated hotels and restaurants in Vancouver, B.C., in the early and formative years of my life. His was the generation that understood the intimate and interdependent relationship between hotels and restaurants. More pointedly, he understood the relationship between hoteliers and restaurateurs as collaborators in what he always described as the most exciting business in the world.

These days, from my vantage point, we are much more divided. We even argue over the identity of our broader industry: Are we hospitality? Are we tourism? Or are we merely businesses?

I believe we run the risk of creating greater divisions between those who own and those who operate.

But all is not lost.

To reflect on the present day is to feel and attempt to understand the anguish of labour-market pressure on the Canadian hotel sector. We’ve done studies, provided commentary and proposed solutions. But I’m not sure anyone has yet managed to gain enough perspective to understand the depth of the workforce crisis this industry is facing. And if we are being honest, this did not come as a surprise. Very much like climate change, we have all been witness to the slow depletion of one of our most essential and unrenewable resources—our people. This is not to paint an entire industry with the same brush. Many organizations and regions across Canada have done incredible work to recruit, retain and empower their talent. But we must consider human capital in our industry from a macro point of view. We have a problem. And it will not resolve itself.

In late September I was fortunate to attend the Ontario Snow Resorts Association annual conference. I spoke to three groups of resort leaders from varied levels and regions to help them cope with the recurring labour challenges affecting them all. I couldn’t come to the conference with a silver-bullet solution. I had no tricks or secret pools of talent they could rapidly tap into. Instead, I decided to help them develop their leadership practices in the hopes that they would build even more resilience—the strength and speed of their responses to adversity. What matters most is that leaders during times of disruption have the courage and capacity to stand tall, and the emotional intelligence to support the workers they already have as they rebuild their teams.

Reading the faces and hearing the sentiments from hotel industry professionals who remain engaged in their careers provided clarity on the impact this labour crisis is having on them from a mental health perspective, and a capped capacity perspective. But following the same approach with those hotel industry workers who—by their own volition or because of their employer—made an exit from the hotel workforce over the last 18 months, what is evident is that most of those who left the industry during the pandemic are deeply hurt.

No one should fault businesses that had to take drastic and evasive action to survive this global health crisis by laying off or terminating staff. Associations and industry leaders worked tirelessly to lobby governments for aid and sustainable support. But no amount of money or training, nor incentives, will reel a group of people back into an industry they feel they’ve been abandoned by. And, the recurring rhetoric suggesting that “affected workers would rather just stay home and collect government assistance than return to work” has only deepened the schism. This was, at our peak, a very hardworking workforce in a very demanding industry. Being accused of being lazy or entitled, with so little acknowledgment of systemic deficiencies and injustices in the industry, has only created more distance between workers and industry.

Where do we go from here?

We ought to think about the hotel industry labour crisis as akin to a very damaged relationship. We would be wise to recognize that there is no going back. Today, we are presented with the opportunity to not only build back better, but we must build back differently.

We need to get back to basics. Such as employing early talent strategies around making the hotel industry a destination for careers and career development; a more pronounced focus on people-first workplace cultures; developing our emotional intelligence and the emotional and social skills of our team members, such as empathy, which is a skill that we all need during this crisis.

For many at the top of the hotel industry, we arrived where we are because we started with an understanding of our passion. And we aligned that passion with opportunity. The industry needed passionate, career-minded hotel industry professionals then as much as we do now. Other industries have surpassed our value proposition for career decisions. Generally speaking, college and university enrolment in hospitality and tourism programs across Canada is in a state of steady decline. Even more so from the domestic student base. The alarm bells should be ringing. And the reimagining should be well underway. We need new solutions. We need new approaches.

I remain an optimist. I remain a big believer in the potential of building rich and rewarding careers in Canada’s hotel industry. Let’s learn from our recent past and grow towards a more positive, inclusive and diversity-rich future. Let’s learn from our long history. And let’s reinvent our workforce grounded as an industry of collaborators in what I’ve always described as “the most exciting business in the world.”

Tools and Resources

Human Capital and Early Talent Strategies

Tourism HR Canada is a pan-Canadian organization with a mandate aimed at building a world-leading tourism workforce. It facilitates, coordinates and enables human resource development activities that support a globally competitive and sustainable industry and foster the development of a dynamic and resilient workforce. The organization works with the industry to attract, train and retain valuable tourism professionals by giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed in their careers and entrepreneurial endeavours. They are a wealth of resources to help hotels with recruitment, retention and human capital strategies, including their newly launched Propel program. The Propel Student Work Placement Program offers tourism and hospitality employers access to up to $7,500 in wage subsidies when they hire a post-secondary student for work-integrated learning: an internship, a co-op placement, a work experience placement and more.

For more information visit:

PropelCareers.ca

Combining People and Profit Practices

Conscious Economics is a national not-for-profit organization and global social enterprise headquartered in Canada, with a 10-year history and proven track record in economic education, financial literacy programs, research, events and experiential learning. They have staged over 1,000 events that have gathered youth, business leaders, policymakers, change agents, educators, industry associations, charities and not-for-profits. While they engage with all communities, they maintain a specialized focus on vulnerable populations, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Women and Artists. They offer impactful programs focused both on people and profit.

For more information visit:

ConsciousEconomics.ca

Indigenous Inclusion

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is a global leader in the marketing and development of Indigenous tourism experiences. ITAC’s members are Indigenous-owned and controlled businesses from every province and territory in the country. Intentionally including Indigenous people as part of the hotel industry provides a wealth of leadership and growth potential.

For more information visit:

IndigenousTourism.ca


Joe Baker is a passionate leader within Canada’s tourism, hospitality and education sectors and a vocal advocate for a resilient, inclusive, future-forward industry. He is CEO of Joe Baker & Co., a human capital consultancy focused on strengthening hospitality and tourism organizations and people. Baker was dean at Centennial College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts where he led the most significant transformation in the school’s over 50-year history. He serves on the board of directors at Tourism HR Canada, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and is on the editorial advisory board for SUSTAIN Magazine.

Joe can be found everywhere @thejoebaker.

Tourism HR Canada’s Propel Student Work Placement Program recently featured on the Mindset in Motion (MIM) podcast, made for university and college educators, career counsellors, and leaders invested in supporting students and recent graduates with the tools and resources to thrive in their hopeful careers.

Listen as host Bill Heinrich speaks with Elyse Leblanc and Joe Baker, discussing how the tourism and hospitality industry is innovating to support post-secondary students and graduates with opportunities to gain skills and get hired.

Elyse Leblanc is the Manager, Talent Acquisition, North and Central America, for Accor hotels and has a career in human resources that spans over a decade. Joe Baker is a passionate leader within Canada’s tourism, hospitality and education sectors. He is a vocal advocate for a resilient, inclusive, future-forward industry. He is currently working with Tourism HR Canada on Propel.

Learn about their first-hand insights on how the tourism and hospitality industries are working to attract and retain the right talent to rapidly grow and adapt.

Click here to listen to Students, Skills, Competencies, & Employers – Opportunities in Tourism and Hospitality

MIM is brought to you by Orbis’s Mindset division and delivered by Orbis’s Director of Mindset, Bill Heinrich, and Jeni Riddell, Director of Success and Product Deployment. Orbis is a two-decade-long leader in technological innovation and deployment supporting higher education partners to deliver on the promise of student career readiness. Mindset is Orbis’s division that connects big ideas to repeatable educational practices, guiding informed decision making, and learning experiences that support student success.

Please note: this Propel info session is for BC-based employers. A national session will take place on December 9.

Need help bringing on new staff? Hiring students is a great way to build your team for short-term needs and to build a talent pipeline for the long term! And now you can access a wage subsidy of up to $7,500 through Propel, a brand new Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)!

Aimed squarely at the tourism and hospitality sector, Propel is a new initiative to help the hardest-hit sector recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.

Learn more about how your organization can take advantage of this wage subsidy program and how to bring on students from hospitality and tourism management, culinary arts, and other programs from across the province at this info session on November 15, 2021, at 2:00 PM Pacific.

Brought to you by the Talent MATCH Program, a collaboration between go2HR, the BC Museums Association, the Alliance for Arts + Culture, and the Association for Co-operative Education & Work Integrated Learning, this info session will feature Rachel George and Joe Baker from Propel, who will explain how the program works and how to apply.

This info session is free, but you must register for it here.

Want more information on hiring students in British Columbia? Visit the Talent MATCH webpage or contact Project Manager Debby Reis at TalentMatch@acewilbc.ca.

Employers can receive a wage subsidy of up to 75 per cent, up to a max of $7,500

With the winter semester quickly approaching, now is the time to start planning your winter and spring employment strategy—and Tourism HR Canada has a way to help!

Many businesses across the country have been facing labour challenges while they look to ‘staff up’ to accommodate the ease of COVID-related capacity restrictions and a boost in business; student interns are a great solution to fill these roles while helping to train and solidify the future workforce for years to come. Supporting employers and students, Tourism HR Canada’s Propel—a federally funded student work placement program offering paid work-integrated learning opportunities—offers one of the hardest-hit sectors a chance to rebuild their workforce lost during the pandemic.

The program offers Canadian tourism employers a wage subsidy of up to 75 per cent of a qualifying student’s wages, to a maximum of $7,500. The position must be a work-integrated learning opportunity for a post-secondary student but can be accessed by any businesses in the tourism sector: accommodations, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation, and travel services. This includes positions related to events, concerts, meetings and conventions, museums, galleries, cultural and heritage sites, destination marketing, and more.

To learn more about the Propel program and to apply, please visit PropelCareers.ca or join our virtual information session on Thursday, November 4 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time by registering here.

Tourism employers can receive a wage subsidy of up to 75 percent, up to a max of $7,500

The Canadian tourism sector remains in a critical state. More than 18 months into the pandemic, the industry still has not recovered; international tourists are trickling in, labour challenges remain high, and various regions have experienced rolling lockdowns. The once rapidly expanding sector is now struggling to attract early talent.

To encourage more people to enter the sector, Tourism HR Canada launched Propel—a federally funded student work placement program offering paid work-integrated learning opportunities. The program offers Canadian tourism employers a wage subsidy of up to 75 percent of a qualifying student’s wages, to a maximum of $7,500. Propel offers employers in one of the hardest-hit sectors a chance to rebuild their workforce lost during the pandemic.

Reimbursement for 2021 Summer Students

Organizations that supported summer students on work-integrated learning placements this year can receive retroactive reimbursement. Please check out the link below to apply retroactively for summer students’ wages from June 1 onwards.

Recognizing the Labour Challenges 

The tourism sector has been challenged by the current labour shortages; September 2021 had about 300,000 fewer workers in the sector than in the same month in 2019 according to Stats Canada’s Labour Force Survey. There are more than 130,000 unfilled accommodations and food services jobs across the country. Tourism HR Canada believes that Propel can help close this gap.

How It Works

The program is funded by the Government of Canada through the Student Work Placement Program. Propel offers registered Canadian businesses, startups, and not-for-profits related to the tourism and hospitality sector a wage subsidy of up to 75 percent of a qualifying student’s wages, to a maximum of $7,500. Students enrolled at a recognized post-secondary institution can apply for a paid position to fulfil the co-op or internship component of their program. Employers can also apply retroactively for qualifying students’ wages that were paid any time after June 1, 2021.

The position must be a work-integrated learning opportunity for a post-secondary student but can be accessed by any businesses in the tourism sector: accommodations, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation, and travel services. This includes positions related to events, concerts, meetings and conventions, museums, galleries, cultural and heritage sites, destination marketing, and more.

Propel offers post-secondary students opportunities to develop the work-ready skills required to secure meaningful employment upon graduation. Qualifying employers are provided with a wage subsidy of up to $7,500 for each student hired through the program.

Importance of the Program

The program ensures that students gain paid hands-on learning and mentoring in their field of study. Employers acquire much-needed early talent to help with the recovery of the industry, as well as assistance with wages after an 18-month stretch of little or no income. Post-secondary institutions complement their programs by connecting students and the workplace.

Additional Information and Online Application

For more information on the Propel program, and to apply, please visit PropelCareers.ca, and be sure to join our virtual information session on November 4th at 1:00 PM Eastern Time by registering here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a number of industries across the country, and the tourism & hospitality industry is near, if not at the top of, that list. The challenge now is how to address the labour crisis this industry is facing.

CEWIL Canada, the lead organization for work-integrated learning in Canada, has a weekly podcast called Into the WILderness, a topic-driven show to dive deeper into the world of work-integrated learning (WIL).

The most recent episode features the Propel Student Work Placement Program (SWPP). Tourism HR Canada Director Joe Baker and CEWIL Associate Director of Partnerships Dan Lonergan talk funding opportunities, COVID impact, empathy, workplace culture and most importantly–where WIL fits in this industry.

Click here to listen!

For more information on the Propel program and wage subsidy applications, visit PropelCareers.ca.