Discover Year Timeline
Discover Year by The Numbers
- 40 Skill-Building Workshops
- 30 Career Panel Mentorship Discussions
- 25 Career Development Exercises
- 10 Off-Site Career Exploration & Team-Building Days
- 12 Individual Sessions with Personal Career Coach
- 4-6 Networking Events
- 100 Amazing Mentors to Offer Guidance & Networking Opportunities
The Discover Year Program
At Discover Year, we recognize that our participants have different skills, interests and expectations when it comes to employment. Some may have previous experience through part-time work, while others may be looking for their first job. Some may have a particular field in mind, others may be open to anything. Therefore, our job search phase focuses on helping each participant find paid work that will help them develop their Unique Potential. We start by helping our participants craft professional résumés and cover letters. Then we coach them on effective communication strategies to connect with employers interested in hiring young workers. We also provide access to our extensive network of mentors and professionals to explore opportunities for employment for two distinct 5-month work phases. During the work phases, participants are expected to work approximately four days per week, with another day dedicated to skills development, through our Discovery Days.
Discovery Days: Crucial Skills Development
One day every week – Discovery Day – our participants come together for fun and engaging education. These days are dedicated to skills workshops, career panels and group discussion.
The skills workshops focus on both “hard” and “soft” skills related to communication, entrepreneurship, career development, organization & time management and critical thinking. Subject matter experts from within our committee deliver interactive sessions to help participants build fundamental career skills for the 21st century
The mentor-centred career panels introduce participants to a plethora of successful people from a wide range of industries, careers and backgrounds. They help shape participants’ knowledge and understanding of the skills and aptitudes required, as well as the day-to-day realities in a variety of fields. This portion of the program is intended to pique our participants’ curiosity and allow them to start exploring potential interests for future careers and ambitions in a meaningful way.
The format of the group discussions is based on the Harkness method, an educational model that emphasizes open-mindedness and helps students develop their critical thinking and communication skills. These discussions enable our participants to ask questions, express their feelings and develop their reasoning skills. A number of themes will be covered, including; career development, post-secondary decision-making, current events and the group’s collaborative projects.
The travel component of the program is intended to enlarge the participants’ world view and build their confidence while stepping outside of their comfort zone. Adaptability, problem solving and cultural awareness are considered crucial skills in today’s job market. Young adults who take the opportunity to travel consistently rave about their ample opportunities to improve these skills during their adventures. We do understand that independent travel can seem intimidating for both young adults and their parents, and that resources and interests vary greatly among participants. That is why - similar to the work component - the travel portion of the Discover Year is very flexible. Whether the participant wants to travel to Montreal, Marseille or Manilla during their trip, our travel experts will provide guidance and helpful suggestions as participants prepare their journeys. Some may prefer to join a structured volunteer opportunity for their month long travel experience, while some will choose to visit family overseas and others still will decide to explore unchartered territories on their own or with a companion. Whatever the format, there are many lessons to be learned in traveling to an unknown land.
At Discover Year, we believe strongly that community service is most beneficial when the mission and job tasks are closely aligned with the individual’s interests, talents and values. Anyone who has managed a team of volunteers will tell you that the most helpful volunteer is the one who has consciously chosen to be there out of interest in the project’s objective rather than a feeling of obligation to the community. With the community project, we aim to create a spark for participants with respect to a particular social issue – even if it is considered to be outside the traditional realm of charitable work. The goal is to initiate a group project that speaks to their authentic values and enables them to create a meaningful stake in the project's mission. This maximizes their contribution to the project as well as enables them to expand their skills, knowledge and network in a valuable way. Discover Year staff support the development of the project, but ultimately the decision of what issue to tackle, what impact they seek to make and how implement the project lies with the participants. Projects are confirmed within the first six months of the program with individual roles being determined at that time. Project delivery dates can vary, but are expected to be towards the end of the Discover Year.
Career Coaching and Self-awareness
With the multitude of education and career pathways available today, it is easy to understand why many students become overwhelmed in the post-secondary decision making process. There are close to 200 post-secondary institutions in Canada alone! Thanks to online marketing and well-developed recruitment strategies among these institutions, the abundance of admissions and program information can often lead to feelings of despair. Simultaneously, students are faced with perceived societal pressure urging them to pursue high-status or well-recognized fields and careers. This combination of information and perception often leads students to make arbitrary post-secondary decisions based on incomplete or irrelevant information.
During their monthly individual meetings with their life-path coach, Discover Year students gain a better understanding of how they can make use of their authentic interests, values and talents within the context of the current Canadian labour market. Through a combination of personality assessment tools, motivational interviews and exploratory discussion, our coaches aim to increase students' confidence and self-awareness to incite meaningful action.