A team-based, youth-led approach to job hunting. 

Today in Canada there are approximately 200,000 unemployed youth with less than university education. We know an extended job hunt increases susceptibility to mental illness, stress, feelings of helplessness and loss of self-esteem. 


Searching for a job is tough… really tough.

  • There always seem to be a gap between the skills employers want and the ones youth have, but youth have no resources to help them fill that gap.

  • It’s a cycle where youth need but under-appreciated experience to offer employers. experience to get experience, even though youth already have important

  • The search is boring, lonely and massively depressing as the digital world allows the quantity of rejections and dead-ends to mount.


What if we could give unemployed youth a BOUNCE in their job search?

We want to make the job hunt a team sport by creating teams of youth who go through a common experiential learning program and stay connected through the job search process. We want to give youth concrete real-life work experience in small and manageable two-week chunks. We want to ensure youth leave those two weeks with:

  • A new group of friends they can count on and who will work with them to find a job

  • A new network of potential employers who have seen their work

  • The experience of being part of a project to be proud of that helped their city

  • A job reference from a mentor

  • New digital and life skills - how to be employable and stay positive

Ultimately it’s about collaborating, nurturing others, and working together towards established goals. It’s about helping youth move from feeling isolated and alone in their unemployment to feeling empowered, skilled, and backed up by others. It’s about creating resources that they can turn to and ultimately use to find a job. It’s about giving them a concrete and certified measure of merit, skill, and achievement. And perhaps most importantly, it’s about giving them positive life skills to make them happier people and employees.


Bounce :) is a new program that encourages unemployed youth to take a short productive, positive break from the job hunt to join a unique program. It will enhance their employability through a mix of components:

  • A team-based peer support approach. Youth are gathered in small team to experience the program together. They do projects together in the first phase of the program and will also be incentivized to meet with their team every two weeks for up to six months to discuss progress on the job hunt. Ultimately, their goal will be help all of their teammates find a great job. 

  • Hackathon model. The training and skills building component is condensed to a shorter 3-day non-classroom proven model. It quickly forms trust builds skills and leads teams to a tangible outcome for their work. Its also fun to be a part of. anYouth are put in teams of five members working together to complete a series of challenges that build to a collective product.

  • Real community impact. Ultimately youth teams will be working to produce something that will benefit a local organization and they will get a chance to present their solution directly to that organization and other employers. 

  • Digital skills development to enhance the natural skills that youth possess from being digital natives. These skills are sought after by employers and enhance the value youth can bring to jobs. 

  • Life skills through positive psychology understanding. There are a series of time tested elements to help people become happier. This learning will last a lifetime. From being part of something bigger, to doing things for others, to just connecting with other people. Knowing how to bounce back. Knowing the foundation of what make you happy will establish a positive attitude for employers, too. 

  • Accreditation. Once teams have completed the session, they will be accredited, given a job reference and offered further opportunities to use the new skills and friendships to help in the job hunt.


The purpose of the program is to optimize the tools of the digital realm to increase connectedness, mental stimulation, learning, agency and thus the happiness of youth during a particularly challenging time of transition from school to work. 


The Target Youth Population: Unemployed youth with less than university education living in cities. While the rate is higher in rural area, the vast majority of unemployed youth reside in cities so that is our focus. It also matches with our expertise. 


Target Cities: Toronto, Vancouver, and Hamilton for the pilot, expanding to cities in all regions as the need is confirmed. 


The Pilot to Full Deployment Approach

We want to convene a group of youth in Canada to work with the collaborating organizations to test and refine the initial design. Then we will develop a pilot curriculum and recruit a 30 youth in each of our three cities to participate in the pilot. A full evaluation will be conducted through the pilot to identify areas for refinement. Based on the success of the pilot we believe we can bring Bounce :) to more than 1,500 youth within three years.


The Collaborators
The Bounce :) program concept was developed by youth in the United Kingdom, facilitated by Decode. Decode has more than 20 years of youth program design experience internationally. YouthfulCities is a Decode venture focused on urban millennials and making cities more youthful places. One of its main focus areas is youth employment. Based on the imperial and opinion data about employment YouthfulCities has collected, we feel Bounce :) fills a real need in cities in Canada and globally.


To launch Bounce :) we are partnering with two types of organizations - colleges and employment service providers. Douglas College (Vancouver, B.C.) has expressed an interest to participate, and we expect a couple of Ontario colleges will join the team in the near future. We are seeking experienced employment training providers in each pilot city as well. 


If you believe you can help us get going, please get in touch



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