Building youth careers and community spaces

Building youth careers and community spaces

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The Department of Labour and Advanced Education

An interdisciplinary design firm in Dartmouth knows exactly how to make their business adaptive and cutting edge: by hiring fresh graduates with a fresh skills and fresh perspectives.

“The grads we’ve hired bring new approaches to design and production,” says Devin Segal, Director of Landscape Architecture at Fathom Studio. “They are bringing crucial skills in the latest software, and an energy and enthusiasm that can’t be matched. Their understanding of new research helps our company stay competitive in Nova Scotia.”

Ardena Paul, an Architectural Technician graduate from Nova Scotia Community College, and Sujana Devabhaktuni, a University of Manitoba graduate, joined Fathom Studios full time, where they now innovate the way in which buildings, streets and landscapes are turned into inviting communities.

“At Fathom we get to explore every stage of the project and work as a collaborative team to create innovative designs for community spaces,” says Devabhaktuni. “As recent graduates, we learn a lot working in a team. My design and technical skills improved substantially in the past two years.”

More employers like Fathom are seeing the benefits that recent graduates bring to organizations as they adapt to working in a pandemic. And hiring them is easier than you might think.

Fathom Studio tapped into the Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program to hire Paul and Devabhaktuni right out of school.

The GTO program offers 25% of a grad’s first year salary – 35% if the grad is diverse – and 12.5% of their second-year salary to small businesses, start-ups and non-profits who create permanent full-time jobs for recent grads in Nova Scotia.

“GTO allows us to employ recent graduates with less experience,” says Segal. “If young people see that there is an opportunity to contribute meaningfully and build a career right out of school, they are more likely to invest and secure their future in Nova Scotia, and businesses like us benefit from that.”

Paul agrees.

“Going to work with an employer that believes in you can be life-changing for both the company and the younger hire,” says Paul. “It has been for me.”

To date, more than 700 organizations like Fathom Studio have hired more than 1,400 recent graduates across Nova Scotia using GTO funding. Complete applications are typically approved within three to five days.

When you are ready to hire someone new, consider hiring a recent grad. GTO could save you money if you do. Learn more at

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