Finding Your Voice, Knowing Your Rights responds to the unique needs of newcomer youth by exploring the intersectional vulnerabilities of being young, a newcomer, an English language learner, and a new-to-Canada worker.
It has been clearly documented that newcomer youth face challenges accessing their safety and labour rights in the workplace. This can contribute to their early exit from the labour market due to injury, or prevents their full and equitable, integration into Alberta’s labour force.
This two-year research project will work directly with youth in two capacities, as research participants contributing to the co-creation research plan and as research assistants supporting the research team, as well as community partners, employers, and English language learning instructors.
Finding Your Voice, Knowing your Rights will address issues of safety and equity while improving workplace integration for newcomer youth, who are also English language learners (ELL). Through stakeholder collaboration and community-based research methods, the project will research and pilot a suite of resources, including a mobile / app resource, designed to complement existing language and labour market integration services.
The research plan guiding Finding Your Voice, Knowing Your Rights fosters a socially innovative approach with an aim to improve newcomer youth’s experiences in the labour market. It is based in an evidenced-based understanding of the various stakeholders’ perspectives and experiences, followed by engaging youth, employers, and service providers in the co-creation of solutions.
- Phase 1 -Knowledge Co-creation and Data Collection
- Phase 2 and 3 - Toolkit creation and pilot
- Phase 4- Toolkit Knowledge Mobilization (including sharing the co-creation process/roadmap)
Guided by Social Innovation
By incorporating social innovation principles, our four-phase project design brings together cross-sector, multi-disciplinary and sometimes unexpected partners to learn, create, and pilot a solution building on existing knowledge that often remains isolated from each other:
- English language learning and bridge-to-work programming: provides skills learners need to get a job but does not extend to include what happens in the workplace.
- Employers: understand their legal responsibilities but are often unaware of the intersecting barriers that impact young newcomers’ enactment of their rights and responsibilities.
- Workers: bring their experiences and perceptions of safety and rights in the workplace which may not be congruent with Canadian law and workplace culture.
While all three perspectives are key to ensuring safe and equitable workplaces they seldom come together. By taking these often disparate perspectives and bringing them together, the project employs the expertise of each stakeholder to create a holistic approach to understanding and addressing the issues.
Notably, the project embodies the social innovation principle of working with intended audience to co-create and prototype a solution. It ensures the project remains grounded in the workers’ and employers’ real-world, lived experiences. Through cross-sector networks, online / app-based toolkits, and workshops the project will be sustained beyond the two-year project plan.