Youth Employment Program

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To learn more about IRAP, please call our toll-free number at 1-877-994-4727 to speak with one of our representatives who will refer you to an Industrial Technology Advisor located in your community.


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The Youth Employment Strategy is the Government of Canada's commitment to help young Canadians (aged 15 to 30) obtain career information, develop skills, find good jobs and stay employed. Through federal departments and agencies, among others, the Youth Employment Strategy assists employers in hiring young Canadians.

While spearheaded by the Employment and Social Development Canada, 11 Government of Canada departments and agencies partner with other governments, business and communities to deliver this initiative.

The NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) delivers its Youth Employment Program under Youth Employment Strategy and provides small and medium-sized enterprises with financial assistance to hire highly skilled post-secondary graduates. Small and medium-sized enterprises benefit from the knowledge of freshly minted minds while graduates gain valuable work experience that will open doors to the future.

This Program provides financial assistance to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada to hire post-secondary science, engineering, technology, business and liberal arts graduates. Graduates work on innovative projects within the small and medium-sized enterprise environment and may participate in research, development and commercialization of technologies. In addition to meeting the needs of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises, this Program facilitates the transition of highly skilled young people to a rapidly changing labour market.

Are you eligible?


To be eligible for financial assistance under the Youth Employment Program, your small and medium-sized enterprise must:

  • be incorporated and for-profit;
  • have 500 or less full-time equivalents; and
  • be ready to enhance their innovation capacity, and willing to establish a trusting relationship with IRAP.


To be eligible for the Youth Employment Program, graduates must:

  • be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada;
  • be between 15 and 30 years old (inclusive);
  • have graduated from a post-secondary institution;
  • be legally entitled to work according to relevant provincial legislation and regulations; and
  • be a first-time youth participant in a placement of the Career Focus Program of the Youth Employment Strategy.


Small and medium-sized enterprises will receive a financial contribution geared towards supporting a portion of the salary costs of a post-secondary graduate, who will work on technical opportunities within the small and medium-sized enterprise and on non-technical but technology related projects such as:

  • research and development, engineering, and multi-media;
  • development of new products and processes;
  • market analysis for a new technology-based product;
  • business development related to science and technology activities; and
  • improvement of customer services, etc.

What is the process?

  • Interested small and medium-sized enterprises are encouraged to contact IRAP for more information and to complete an application.
  • In order to be considered for IRAP's Youth Employment Program, the firm and the graduate must be assessed for eligibility.
  • Internships must be at least six and no longer than twelve months, and are available anywhere in Canada.
  • The Program will cost-share a portion of the salary costs of a post-secondary graduate. The small and medium-sized enterprise is responsible for other expenses such as fringe benefits and overhead costs.