RBC Future Launch helps grads compete in challenging job market

Published on September 22, 2020

A networking platform creates valuable connections with industry professionals 

In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever for post-secondary students to build professional relationships early on in their career journey. In fact, it’s estimated that 85% of job opportunities are filled through networking.  

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it’s made face-to-face networking even more difficult for students and new grads—but not impossible, thanks to a generous donation from the RBC Foundation.  

The donation made through RBC’s Future Launch program, has allowed NAIT and 80 other post-secondary institutions to help its students and graduates make valuable career connections with experienced people in their field.  

Launched at NAIT in September 2019 as the NAIT Hub, the initiative is allowing students to meet, network and get advice from experienced alumni.  

Introductions are made on a monthly basis on a talent development platform for informal learning called Ten Thousand Coffees, which facilitates introductions between individuals who want to expand and diversify their professional networks.  

“Those who want to be successful can’t just surround themselves with people of similar backgrounds,” says Sadaf Virji with Ten Thousand Coffees. 

Making virtual connections

That’s where the strength of the platform kicks in. Once signed up, alumni and students are introduced based on the career goals, interests or educational backgrounds specified in their profile. Members are encouraged to reach out and set up a time to chat and learn from each other.  

"NAIT Hub has proven to be an effective platform for creating opportunities to connect and network in a virtual environment."

Prior to the pandemic, the meetings were either in-person or online, depending on their preferences. Now with physical distancing measures in place, the hub has allowed these face-to-face career connections and networking to continue virtually. 

“In these unprecedented times, while our community has experienced varying levels of isolation, the NAIT Hub has proven to be an effective platform for creating opportunities to connect and network in a virtual environment,” says Robyn Khunkun, associate vice president of the Department of Advancement and Alumni Relations. 

In just one year, 937 members have signed up for the NAIT Hub and over 4,000 introductions have been made, resulting in more than 5,000 hours of meetings between NAIT alumni and students.  

Lyndsey Bilocerkowec (Captioning and Court Reporting ’08) says the NAIT Hub was a great opportunity to learn from fellow grads. 

“We had a great time discussing our time at NAIT and our respective careers and work experiences since graduating. I gained valuable insight into what her career entails."  

Since the hub launched, it’s helped students and grads like Bilocerkowec get the perspective and advice to help them along in their careers.   

“We are grateful to have received support through the RBC Future Launch program, enabling us to launch this platform with Ten Thousand Coffees,” says Khunkun.  

The NAIT Hub 

RBC Future Launch is a part of RBC’s commitment to empower Canadian youth for the workforce. The top skills companies are looking for across all industries include active listening, speaking, critical thinking and social perceptiveness. Alumni and experienced industry professionals can help students improve their skills by sharing their own professional journey and experiences.

See more about the NAIT Hub.