Leadership Workshops Supported by the HSBC Bank Canada National Transformation Project

Up-close photo of a young woman looking at camera with a gray sweater sitting on a patterned bench
Gabriela, Leadership Workshop participant, student, and former youth in care

For 19 years, HSBC Bank Canada has been a valued corporate partner of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. As part of their commitment to supporting children and youth in and from care, the HSBC Bank Canada National Transformation Project was established in 2015 and continues to this day.

In 2020-2021, this Project supported 700 children and youth across the country through monetary awards, bursaries, tutoring, and additional supports to help with education-related needs and resources. Thanks to HSBC’s generosity, these young people have gained important skills and opportunities to help define a vision of success for themselves, secure meaningful employment, and break the cycle of abuse and neglect for future generations.

One example of a resource is a series of Leadership Workshops at Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC) in Toronto. These workshops provided information and training in using social media, problem solving, personal branding to assist in job searches or current employment situations. Through eight virtual workshops covering a variety of topics, youth learned how to present themselves online, how to communicate their strengths and skills, how to handle communication and conflict in the workplace, the value of networking, and how to balance work with self-care and wellness.

Between April 20, 2021 and May 13, 2021, 23 youth participated in the program at PARC and walked away with new knowledge to aid in their career path.

I will be able to use the stress management skills I learned in the workshops whenever there is a stressful moment in my career as a chef. I am enrolled to start culinary school in September. I know when it comes to being a chef a lot of stress can happen in the kitchen and with people, so these strategies have helped me look into how I currently deal with stress and how I can manage more effectively going forward.

The communications and networking workshops will be useful when I am in school and also when I am looking for work in my field. I will be able to create a professional online profile and work on how to brand myself in order to make connections.

GABRIELA, program participant, student, and former youth in care

Following their participation in the workshops, youth were asked to complete a survey to identify how the Leadership Workshops supported them in their employment journey. Results show:

  • Over 70% of participants feel confident or very confident in their written and verbal communication, problem solving, and planning and managing tasks, time, money, and resources
  • Over 80% feel confident or very confident in the areas of leadership, adaptability, and working with others
  • 93% feel confident or very confident in their knowledge of work ethic (e.g., being reliable and punctual, producing quality work, being focused and professional, taking responsibility for your actions)

With regards to personal development and well-being:

  • 69% of youth are more motivated to achieve their career or educational goals and feel more confident about their employment skills and abilities
  • 63% of youth are feeling less stress
  • 71% of youth feel more prepared to enter the work force
  • 67% of youth are more optimistic about the future

It is important for young people to have access to programs like this because it will help them know what really goes on in the “real world”. As young people grow up in foster care, they don’t always get much information when it comes to independent living, programs like this can help young adult go into the real world and be able to ask and get all the information they need. This program was also a safe space for young people to come together and discuss what we are going through. The virtual program was easy to use and still get connected to workshops and my peers.

I am currently working at Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC) as a summer intern. Programs like this can also give opportunities that youth may not know about. I’m learning different skills and applying them here now.

GABRIELA, program participant, student, and former youth in care

You can learn more about the full scope of the Project or apply for support here.