Youth audit results

Suburbs

Kitchener is a relatively young community*, so it should be no surprise that youth and young adults play important roles at the City of Kitchener, making up 25% of direct volunteers and representing over 30% of our workforce during the summer months.

Because youth and young adults are such a big part of our corporation, The City of Kitchener worked with Apathy is Boring to review our policies, procedures, and programs from a youth engagement view. To find out what we are doing well and where we need to improve, we reviewed key documents and did surveys and focus groups with youth and young adult staff, volunteers, placement students and program participants, adult staff, and members of council.

So much to celebrate!

Overall, youth and young adults feel the City of Kitchener is a great place to work, volunteer, and do a placement:

  • 95% feel supported in their roles
  • 92% think the City of Kitchener is youth and young adult-friendly
  • 91% feel their unique skills are valued by adult staff
  • 89% feel they can contribute new and creative ideas to the work being done

Overall, program participants are happy with City of Kitchener youth programming:

  • 97% feel that City staff treat them with respect
  • 91% think that City staff are positive role models they can look up to
  • 82% feel that City staff give them advice on they can volunteer and be a leader

We are working hard to make improvements!

Top five ways we will improve in 2016

We received lots of great feedback around areas for growth. Below is a summary of just a few of the things we heard and what we are doing about it:

 #1

What you said: Many youth and young adult staff would like the opportunity to work with a mentor.

What we are doing: The City has offered a formal corporate mentor program for many years and the program is currently being refreshed so that mentors are more accessible to all staff, such as the introduction of an online mentor system. Watch for more information coming this fall.

 #2

What you said: Many youth and young adults are frustrated that not all part-time and temporary staff members are provided with the same opportunity to work more than the allowable 24 hours per week that are available. 

What we are doing: We will be reviewing the policies and procedures and clearly communicating the expectations to management staff to be sure they are aware of the policies and can apply them consistently. Watch for an update this fall.

 #3

What you said: There should be more youth programming available, especially for girls and young adults aged 18 - 24.

What we are doing: This summer we will be talking with Youth Drop-in participants and children and youth program staff to learn more about what kind of programming they want and need.

#4 

What you said: It's not easy for young residents to find information about our programs and how to get involved in the community.

What we are doing: Staff is working on making improvements to the City's websites so all residents can find information more easily. The City has begun using Instagram to better connect to youth and residents of all ages. Follow us at @CityKitchener to find out more.

 #5
What you said: There is no consistent process to provide placement students with corporate orientation.

What we are doing: A committee will be leading a needs assessment in the later part of 2016 to learn how to improve the availability of corporate orientation for all staff, including placement students. Watch for updates in 2017.

Want more information?

This is the first time we have ever looked at youth engagement as an entire corporation and we learned a lot! If you want to see all of the findings and recommendations you can check out the short version of the report here and the full report here.

If you are involved with the City of Kitchener and want to be part of this exciting work or if you would like a printed copy of this information e-mail us.

*In Kitchener, 29% of the population are millennials versus 25% of the population nationally, indicating that based on age, Kitchener's population is slightly younger than the national average.

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