Digital Skills for Youth (DS4Y) is a program funded by the Government of Canada which aims to help underemployed youth enhance and develop their digital and soft skills. The program combines valuable work experience with digital skills training, allowing participating youth to advance their digital skills and secure their success in the digital economy.
Between fall 2020 and winter 2022, IMAA is offering 35 internships (22 in 2020-21, 13 in 2021-22) connecting underemployed youth, including from traditionally underrepresented groups, with employers (Internship Host Organizations). These internships will provide stable employment and training support for up to one year for youth participants. This will allow youth participants to develop or enhance their digital skills and to apply them in combination with soft skills to enhance their future employability.
Objectives and expected outcomes
The DS4Y program allows participating youth to develop their digital skills and soft skills, apply these skills in a work setting, and enhance their future employability in a digital-focused labour market.
DS4Y benefits participating employers by increasing the supply of highly qualified young people with a focus on knowledge economy related skills. It builds employers’ overall capacity in digital domains and advances their own digitally-focused projects and activities.
Examples of digital skills to be developed through these internships include: software/app development, web development, 3D fabrication or modelling, video game design, network systems administration, adaptive technologies, web-based learning, physical computing, VR/AR/XR, immersive technologies, video mapping, video on demand, metadata/discoverability, database optimization, machine learning, interactive technology, etc.
Eligibility – host organizations
To apply to host an internship, you must be a Canadian small or medium business or a non-profit organization with no more than 500 employees. You must have the capacity to host internships, including providing training and support to the intern, administering project funds, reporting on the internship and fulfilling all other obligations under the program. You can apply to offer more than one internship.
Please refer to the Assessment Criteria for more information about how host organizations will be selected.
Eligibility – youth interns
Interns hired under DS4Y must:
Be between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the internship;
Be legally entitled to work in Canada (i.e. citizen, permanent resident or refugee status);
Self-identify as underemployed (i.e. employed below their level of education, holding part-time employment, or in emerging fields with few jobs);
Have completed post-secondary studies (exception: interns located in Nunavut, Yukon or NWT are not required to meet this criterion);
Have no immediate family relationship with the employer.
Please note that IMAA is not accepting applications directly from prospective youth interns. Host organizations, not IMAA, are responsible for advertising internship opportunities publicly and for recruiting and hiring interns.
Host organizations are strongly encouraged to consider equity and diversity when recruiting, hiring and hosting youth interns. Consideration should be given for participation from the following designated groups: Indigenous people, official language minorities, persons with disabilities, racialized persons and women.
Eligible activities include:
Providing youth interns with the necessary equipment, workspace, workplace-related training and mentoring in order to enhance and maximize the internship experience;
Supporting youth interns in the development and implementation of work activities to provide participants with meaningful work experience and enhance their employability.
Employment and training must develop and enhance skills in digital domains, for example: software/app development, web development, 3D fabrication or modelling, video game design, network systems administration, adaptive technologies, web-based learning, physical computing, VR/AR/XR, immersive technologies, video mapping, video on demand, metadata/discoverability, database optimization, machine learning, interactive technology, etc.
Under the DS4Y program, IMAA will reimburse:
Salaries and benefits for intern, to a maximum of 100% of intern payroll costs but not exceeding $23,300 per internship
Training costs related to youth upskilling, to a maximum of $3,000 including taxes per intern
Intern Travel, where necessary
Other direct costs necessary to executing the internship (e.g. participant costs, capital costs, security and safety equipment, disability accommodation, etc.)
The following expenses are not eligible for reimbursement:
Salaries or honoraria for non-intern staff (except for time specifically devoted to training and mentoring)
Equipment costs, office supplies, or telecommunications fees incurred by the host organization