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Hosted by CFC, Youthful Cities and RBC Future Launch, the ‘Future of Urban Work: Summit’ was a four-day virtual summit which connected 120 young people selected from across the country, and provided a unique paid opportunity for youth to grow their network, build on their experience, develop their careers and advance solutions for the future of their communities.
The future of work as a young adult seems precarious. 3-5 years of experience for an entry-level job? The gig economy? Employment tied to health and dental benefits? Careers are now seen as an unattainable commitment and many barriers are rooted in hiring practices and culture that reflect and reinforce systemic inequality. The current environment for youth employment can be a disheartening maze, and circumstances like the COVID crisis, the tanking economy, and the shifting housing market are challenging our understanding and expectations for the future of work.
COVID-19 has impacted Canada’s youth both as a health pandemic and an economic shock, and disproportionately affects marginalized groups. As it stands, youth — especially at-risk youth — are left out of COVID-19 relief and recovery policy consultation. This makes it difficult for youth to attain re-employment, government support, and community building opportunities. Careers are now seen as an unattainable commitment and many barriers are rooted in hiring practices and culture that reflect and reinforce systemic inequality; in addition, links to communities and shared spaces have been severed and youth are more isolated than ever.
The Future of Work Summit was a one-of-a-kind experience for 60 young leaders across various Canadian cities and work industries who came together and collaborated on a vision of what the future of work can be. It was a unique opportunity to amplify the youth voice on the future of work.
The landscape of work is quickly changing across Canada and young Canadians are at the apex. Technological, environmental and social change has thought leaders and think tanks around the world putting in overtime trying to figure out what is in store and how societies and organizations must act and react to work. But with all that focus, two critical forces in our quest to understand the future of work are underrepresented – Youth and Urbanization.
Youthful Cities launched the first Urban Work Index, measuring 21 cities across Canada on their current capacities of urban work from a youth perspective. The index uses an expansive, youth-driven definition for work that includes four thematic areas: Education, Entrepreneurship, Affordability and Employment. The Index was a call for cities to seriously consider how to map out the future of work for youth.
Unpack and analyze the future of urban work, with facilitated session and input from thought leaders on the topic.
Co-create scenarios on the future of work through a design-led process. Each scenario will serve as a potential roadmap to how cities can attract and prepare their youth for work.
Transform the creative scenarios into concrete ideas, recommendations and potential activations for cities to prepare them for the future of work.