NPower program in N.S. helping youth find their technological edge – Halifax

in Aug 16, 2021

A charitable organization that provides underprivileged, diverse youth in the community with free, in-demand digital and professional skills training and connects them to career opportunities with some of Canada’s largest employers is set to start its second class in Halifax.

“For our program, you don’t have to have any tech background to be successful. You just have to have the motivation to learn and some interest in IT is always helpful,” said Tyler Sweeney, the program manager for the Nova Scotia branch of NPower.

Since 2014, NPower has helped more than 2,200 graduates start their own digital careers with Fortune 500 companies.

Raj Chokka immigrated to Canada in 2019 from India and is a graduate of the program.  He is currently employed as a junior IT analyst at Potato Pro.

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“I never knew how to like run a computer at all but after doing 15 weeks of the program, now I am able to install whatever the software that is required for the laptop or the system. So, I’m able to do it now,” he said.

The government-sponsored program offers young people aged 17 to 30 a chance to learn digital and professional skills and provides up to five years of support after graduation.

“We focus on that professional and personal supports as well so we’ll build resumes and do interviewing to get folks ready to enter into the job force,” said Sweeney.

While communities across Nova Scotia continue to recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including youth unemployment, NPower Canada and its funding partners (Google and Microsoft, among others) say they are focused on launching young adults into meaningful and sustainable careers in technology, helping to drive local business forward and support an inclusive economic recovery.

NPower also has major employer partners from across the country.

“We’re seeing because of the nature of the work environment that you don’t have to be going to a brick-and-mortar location anymore. That you can work remotely from home and you work and you can work with some of these big partners that might not even be stationed here in Nova Scotia. So we do hire with Google and Microsoft. We hire with RBC and Excenturist,” said Sweeney.

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The program started in the United States and has since expanded across Canada.

Jacob Mbaziira, the national director of outreach and admissions, is thrilled that Halifax is about to start up its second class.

“Our first class of Halifax youth graduated in May and just three months past the program, we’re happy to say that 72.5 per cent of those alumni are now employed,” he said.

Following the success of NPower Canada’s programs in Halifax, the organization now aims to support more youth in Nova Scotia, announcing the extension of its programs to young adults in Cape Breton and Truro.

NPower Canada is currently accepting applications for its next cohort, beginning in September.

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