With week one of the Olympics in the books, there has been a lot of talk about the effectiveness of government training programs, particularly Canada’s Own The Podium program. Since 2004, Own the Podium has provided funding for training, coaching, technical support, and more to improve the performance of Canadian athletes at Olympic and Paralympic Games. This year, its goal is for Canada to place in the top 12 nations in medal count.

You don’t have to be an Olympian, however, to benefit from such programs. Here are a few ways you can kick-start your career with government programs:

Take advantage of training opportunities

Economic factors and technological developments have continued to result in job losses in traditional fields (such as manufacturing). As the gap between in-demand jobs and workers’ skills grows, it’s a good time to learn a new trade or improve your skills.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Service Canada support several training and employment programs to help unemployed and underemployed Canadians, including those facing barriers to employment. The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program, for example, helps people aged 55-64 return to work by providing skills training and on-the-job work experience. Province-specific programs, such as Ontario’s Second Career, can also help pay for tuition costs associated with training or education required to find a job in a new field.


Kick-start a career in your field

Apart from co-op programs and internships, there are a wide variety of programs available to help youth, students, and new graduates build the skills needed to start their careers. For example, the Post-Secondary Recruitment Program and Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program offer assistance and guidance to new graduates, helping them launch into new fields and further existing careers.

Post-secondary students can also benefit from the Research Affiliate Program (RAP), which provides research opportunities with federal organizations.

And if you’re most interested in making a difference in the world, the Federal Student Work Experience Program hires students for jobs within the public service, ranging from outdoor field work to office positions in IT and finance.

Look into region-specific programs

As you can see, the Federal government offers a variety of programs to help job seekers of all ages, but don’t forget to look in your own backyard. Most provinces offer a similar range of training, recruiting, funding, and work programs.

For example, the Alberta Learning and Information Service provides financial support for tuition costs and occupational skills training. The Government of Ontario also offers programs to help prepare youth for the job market, from the Focus on Youth Summer Program to Strategic Community Entrepreneurship Projects. Finally, the Seed Capital Initiative offers business training and counseling to help young entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada start and expand their businesses.

Whether you’re launching your career or seeking a career change, programs like these can give you the extra push you need. Take advantage!