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Youth Entrepreneurship Placement Program student profile

Over the summer 10 Nipissing University students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship took part in a 16-week paid internship through the Innovation Initiatives Ontario North’s Youth Entrepreneurship Placement Program (YEPP)

Students were matched with a local company for a guided journey that involves experiential and educational learning, similar to a mentorship.  During the program, entrepreneurs share their business experiences and developments, relating the practices back to business resiliency and survival. 

NU News spoke to Nipissing alumnus Joel Black (BBA ’15) who received his mentorship at the Burk’s Falls based company Lofthouse.  Lofthouse is a manufacturer of non-ferrous forgings.  Non-ferrous forgings are made of materials such as brass, copper, nickel, tin lead and zinc and do not contain alloy.

Black became aware of the YEPP program by attending Nipissing’s Annual Job Fair.   At the Fair, Black spoke with Emily Ryan, Nipissing alumna and YEPP economic development officer, about the opportunities available through the program to gain hands-on experience in his field of study, human resources.

After Black had competed an interview with YEPP he was presented with the opportunity at Lofhouse as it was a good fit with his personality and goals.

It was the matching process that really sold me on the program,” said Black.  “YEPP did an excellent job at matching us personality wise, it was a great learning experience.”

During his mentorship at Lofthouse, Black was involved with the company’s employee relations, recruitment process, interviews and onboarding sessions.

“I’ve learned quite a bit during my time with Lofthouse.   One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how different theory is when it’s put into practice.  In theory, there’s always a solution and this is not the case with real life, especially in human resources as no two days are the same,” said Black. “This experience has also taught me a lot about prioritization.  If you have a million different things on the go, you need to be able to get it all done with the same amount of attention to detail.   You have to be able to think outside of the box using the theories you learned in class while operating under time constraints.”

Black has made the most out of his placement and is now seeking employment in Toronto. 

I think YEPP is an extremely beneficial program because it allows you to discover local entrepreneurial success stories that you typically wouldn’t learn about in school,” he said.  “It’s extremely valuable to see other entrepreneurs in the north, how successful they are and how valuable their work is to them as well as their community.  Their passion and engagement is what’s most inspiring.  Participating in this program has really opened my eyes the endless possibilities and I am grateful to have been apart of it.”


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