Making room for young talent to shine

Making room for young talent to shine

< Back to Articles | Topics: Skilled workforce

This is a guest post from The Barrington Consulting Group
(Member since 2015)


Joey Fitzpatrick

Barrington Consulting is landing new business and expanding its horizons with the help of three recent university graduates.

“Being able to hire new grads has offered us a new outlook,” says Nadia Dajani, Associate Partner at Barrington Consulting. “They have given us the opportunity to expand our service offerings and clientele base.”

“They’re helping us grow in other ways, too. The senior consultants in our company are able to tap into new knowledge with these young employees, making us aware of emerging trends and technologies that are important to stay on top of.”

Barrington got to know these new employees while they were still in school by bringing them on for paid work terms. They showed what well-educated and highly-motivated young talent can do.

“Young people today are very entrepreneurial in nature and their initiative and drive is a tremendous benefit to smaller companies like ours that make room for this talent to shine. We hire a new grad every year, but the Graduate to Opportunity program has given us the capacity to hire more than one.”

Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) is a provincial funding program that provides a two-year salary subsidy to small businesses, start-ups, social enterprises and non-profits who hire a recent grad within 12 months of their graduation.

Employers like Barrington Consulting can receive 25 per cent of their first year salary (35 per cent if the graduate identifies as Aboriginal, African Nova Scotian, a female in a non-traditional occupation, an international student, a visible minority or a person with a disability) and 12.5 per cent
of the following years’ salary from the provincial government.

Jobs have to be new, permanent and full time to be eligible and the employee must both live and work in Nova Scotia.

“Graduate to Opportunity has already helped more than 550 employers discover the great things that an energetic, well-educated grad can do for their business,” says Labi Kousoulis, Minister of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. “These new grads are opening up new possibilities for their employers and strengthening Nova Scotia’s economy at the same time.”

Barrington Consulting is seeing this first hand.

“Retaining young talent that is grown here helps local businesses to be more innovative, because they are leveraging the knowledge of individuals who have been newly trained,” says Nadia. “GTO not only helps new graduates get jobs in their field, it benefits the organizations who hire. They are getting fresh insight from fresh eyes when they hire someone so young.”

All three of the new grads have applied their advanced knowledge and supported business analysis projects here at home and as far afield as Edmonton and Texas.

“One of our new grads reached into their own network and made us a client connection in Newfoundland that promised us a project in another jurisdiction,” explains Nadia. “In this case the new grad had a direct impact on our revenue.”

That grad was Charles MacGregor, Consultant and Dalhousie Industrial Engineering grad.

“As recent grads at the company we have such dynamic roles,” he explains. “The flexibility and wide variety of work is a great fit for grads like us who are eager to test all of our skills.”

Being a consultant can mean a lot of different things, according to Lauren Murray, a Dalhousie MBA grad who joined Barrington Consulting in 2018.

“Young people like me choose to stay with companies that invest in our potential,” says Murray. “Recent grads are extremely loyal to employers if you set them up for growth and success.”

Murray focuses on strategy and operations planning, process re-engineering and analytics. “I enjoyed recently working on a project in Newfoundland,” she says. “It was nice to be able to validate my skills in a different place, plus the project was fun and fast-paced.”

Murray completed undergrad at St. Francis Xavier University— a BBA in leadership and management, before doing her MBA at Dalhousie. Part of that program is a corporate residency, so she did her residency at Barrington Consulting and the company was able to keep her on with help from GTO.

The new hires are helping the company grow in other ways as well, Dajani points out.

“The senior consultants in our company are able to tap into new knowledge with these young employees, making us aware of emerging trends and technologies that are important to stay on top of.”

Halifax employers are changing their attitudes about hiring younger employees. The Halifax Partnership’s most recent Business Confidence Survey found that roughly four in 10 businesses had no reservations about hiring people with less experience or entry-level employees, an increase from three in 10 last year.

Another company benefiting from GTO is Proposify, a growing Halifax based tech-firm previously known as Pitch Perfect.

Lukas Shea, a 2018 Mount Saint Vincent University graduate, joined the team as a Customer Happiness Expert after graduation and is helping businesses around the world understand Proposify’s cloud-based software that streamlines the process of creating and closing proposals and other sales documents. He has been a part of the company’s fast growth — over the last two years, Proposify increased from 20 to 70 staff.

“A big part of my role is debunking geek-speak,” Shea says. “I break down technical language so that our customers can make sense of things. But we make it fun. We crack jokes, we send GIFS. All it takes is a look around our office to see that we are very a young team.”

Melissa Gunn, Manager of Customer Support at Proposify challenges other employers to hire and see first-hand, the value in having well educated recent grads on your team.

“They are extremely, hardworking, dedicated and passionate,” says Gunn. “We run a very transparent business and that is something that millennials appreciate. As long as you support their best skills and the development of their potential you will get an amazing workforce and amazing results.”

Proposify has hired six recent grads with the help of GTO.

“The GTO program is an exceptional opportunity to hire talented people into the industry,” says Gunn. “It is a good source of talent. When we hired Lukas he hit the ground running with minimal training, talking to our customer base was so natural for him. It was what we needed when we had a smaller team at the time. He knew our brand voice better than we did.”

Originally from New Brunswick, Lukas is excited to make Nova Scotia home.

“I think Nova Scotia is an untapped resource for young people to pursue a career in,” says Shea. “There are a ton of jobs, there may be a lot of competition —
but there are more opportunities than you might realize. I see career growth in my future here at Proposify. There is potential for me.”

GTO is in its fourth year and already more than 900 recent grads have been hired through the program. Graduates can be from any post-secondary institution inside or outside of Nova Scotia, as long as they have graduated in the previous 12 months. The program is a win-win for both the employer and the recent grads, as well as the province’s economy as a whole. Complete applications are typically approved within five business days.

Small businesses interested in learning more about the available funding to hire talented grads can learn more about the GTO program at

< Back to Articles | Topics: Skilled workforce

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