Interconnection Research International Incorporated (IRI) has developed, coordinated, and facilitated over 40 youth programs (Youth Entrepreneurship Program, Youth Employment Readiness Program and the Skilled Trade Employment Pathway Program to Clean Energy) with an average of 92% success rate over the past 18 years. In addition to sponsored programming, IRI has worked closely with the Brock Youth Centre and the Uxbridge Youth Centre, guiding the creation and implementation of youth training programs, HR enhancements, financial forecasting, and business advisory services to generate sustained positive results.
Nicole Andrews (owner and operator of IRI) continuously works with youth at risk and business by providing training, guidance, and business expertise. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business/Managerial Economics from Lake Superior State University, a Business Administration Diploma, Accounting and Finance, and is Certified A.M.C.T, Association of Municipal Clerk Treasurers of Ontario.
The Youth Employment Readiness Program (YERP) is sponsored by Interconnection Research International Limited and funded in part by Service Canada - Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Prior to starting IRI, Nicole served as the Chief Executive Officer of a Community Industrial Training Committee (CITC), coordinating over 125 programs annually. She was responsible for not only the design and delivery of programs but the tendering of multiple Ministry Certified training programs. Nicole then moved on to building a private vocational college from a green field site – ultimately taking the position of Dean. This private institution was highly successful in capturing training programs with Human Resources Development Canada, in addition to Diploma programming and design/delivery of small business workshops.
It was a natural evolution to move towards having a direct hands-on programming approach to assist youth in the development of the skills and knowledge necessary to make a successful transition to the labour market, and/or begin or return to education, and/or access appropriate pathways to better mental health with programming designed for multiple years of working in the education sector.
Nicole was introduced to Deb Luchuk owner of Luchuk Communications Inc., and the two developed the first entrepreneur program in 2003. Building on the success of this program, we were approached to develop a Youth Employment Readiness Program (YERP) in 2010. The program has been modified and enhanced over the years to accommodate for changes in the economy/jobs and the growing need for additional youth mental health focus.
In short, we have consistently delivered excellent value for taxpayers’ money, delivering quality programs to assist young adults to overcome barriers to success, plan for a successful business or develop useful and appropriate workplace skills to not only land but keep and thrive on the job; and develop a pathway to a better career through higher education, training, or apprenticeship.
Business networking is a key factor in the success of the YERP program and the placement of hard-working, qualified YERP participants looking to gain valuable work skills to help them with their career paths. Business owners of all sizes are encouraged to reach out to gather more details on how you can get involved.
Both Nicole and Deb have worked with youth and young adults over their entire adult working lives, and have extensive experience developing programs and curricula to address particular learning challenges and personal development needs. The success of participants in both the Youth Entrepreneurship Program and the Youth Employment Readiness Program has been due in no small part to the custom-designed training and relevant and extensive expertise to meet the needs and challenges of each participant, as well as the group: each program is customized before offering and during each iteration to meet – and exceed --the unique needs of each participant and the group as a whole.