Softchoice Youth Mentoring Event
By Shantal Small, Events and Digital Marketing Assistant (Summer Student)
Shantal is a summer student part of the Canada Summer Jobs Student program, working as an Events and Digital Marketing Assistant at Skills for Change for Summer 2018. She currently studies within the School of Creative Industries at Ryerson University and hopes to one day pursue a career in Social Work and Community Justice Services.
Last Friday, I attended the Softchoice Mentoring event for youth hosted by Skills for Change. As the Events & Digital Marketing Assistant at Skills for Change for this summer, I have been part of a team planning and preparing for this event over several weeks, so I was very excited to see how it would turn out! I created promotional materials for the event and was pleased to see many attendees showed up, which included Skills for Change summer students and many young people from the community.
The event included an overview of Softchoice and the work that they do, interactive discussions within various break-out groups, a raffle and a delicious pizza lunch to end the day.
If you don’t know, Softchoice is one of the largest IT solution and managed service providers in North America. What I learned at the mentoring event is that their company helps different companies store, maintain and protect data, while providing around the clock insight, expertise and support. Softchoice has offices in 30 local markets across North America, with the largest one located in Toronto. Prior to preparing for this event, I had not been familiar with Softchoice, but now I know quite a lot about them and find their services to be extremely interesting.
I along with many other summer students at Skills for Change had the opportunity to talk with Softchoice representatives who came to speak about topics ranging from Sales & Marketing to Career Planning to Social Media. I spoke with Softchoice’s Sales & Marketing team, who provided me with valuable insight, highlighting the fact that sales are a part of every industry and field to some extent, and that though I may be in a different area of study, – publishing and journalism to be exact – knowing how to communicate effectively and efficiently is always the key to success, as this is the driving force behind sales! They helped me connect the dots, reminding me that the publishing industry is also centred around sales and marketing.
The Softchoice representatives each highlighted their own journeys, many of which did not begin with an interest in IT. One gentleman studied History in post-secondary, while another majored in Theatre. However, Softchoice’s employee-first approach allows for an easy transition into the company, even for those with no background in information technology, which is very good to know as myself and most of the summer students are currently in unrelated fields of study. That means that if I were interested in working for Softchoice, they would provide a lot of support and extensive training to prepare me for the position.
Another great thing about Softchoice is their willingness and desire to create an open and equal opportunity environment for everyone. They strive to be an inclusive and impartial workplace. Through their Shades of Orange, Orange Pride and Women in IT initiatives, they ensure that their company remains diversified by minorities, women and members of the LGBTQ2+ community – groups that are often underrepresented. Here at Skills for Change, we take pride in supporting marginalized groups, so I appreciate the effort Softchoice is making to encouraging a diverse and inclusive workplace. And as African-Canadian female, I personally admire their work. It lets me know that there are workplaces where diversity is celebrated and welcomed.
After the group discussions, the Softchoice team raffled off some cool prizes – the grand prize being a Lenovo laptop, won by one of our summer students at Skills for Change’s Employment Ontario East office. There was also a backpack, a Sprocket photo printer and a portable charger up for grabs. How generous of the Softchoice team! Though I didn’t win anything, I still enjoyed myself!
The event concluded with an opportunity to mix and mingle while enjoying a delicious pizza lunch. Softchoice representatives made themselves available to talk and answer any questions that summer students and other attendees may have had. They answered questions about resumes and career planning but were also willing to just chat. The Softchoice representatives were very kind and patient and spoke with me about optimizing my social media presence to make the most impact in my job search. It was a very helpful mentoring session for young people like me.
I want to thank the Softchoice team for their time, and look forward to their next event!
See more images from the event here.
To learn more about Softchoice, visit their website: https://www.softchoice.com/
To learn more about Skills for Change, visit our website: http://www.skillsforchange.org/