RetailU Partners with One Voice One Team to Champion Youth Employment in Retail

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RetailU, a Canadian eLearning platform has partnered with Ontario-based non-profit One Voice One Team to offer internships with Canadian retailers with a program called “Get Yo’ Life“.

Created in response to the current state of retail vacancies, the industry is facing a gap in part-time staff.

“We have never seen this many openings for part-time workers.” said April Sabral, Founder of Retailu. “Even more alarming is the pool of candidates that want to work in retail post covid. Usually, we would have students applying for their summer jobs, but unfortunately, this has not happened in 2021.”

“In addition, most retailers have not yet adopted an easier way to find candidates as the youth of today’s communication does not match the tech of sending in a resume and completing a lengthy application online,” Sabral shared. “This process is archaic at best, something has to be done. This is where retailu, in partnership with One Voice One Team, have stepped up to solve this pressing problem.”

“We felt it was paramount that we created something where youth were able to see possibilities and develop skills that will allow them to succeed in work and life, while offering retailers the opportunity to fill employment gaps within their companies,” said Founder of One Voice One Team (OVOT), Orlando Bowen.

Bowen shared that youth who complete the “Get Yo’ Life” program will walk away with valuable key principles like resiliency skills, prioritization skills and authentic leadership skills that will not just position them to secure an internship, but it will also position them to find success in developing a clear career path in life.

The One Voice One Team organization started as a summer camp in 2005 and was incorporated into a non-profit organization in 2008.

Sabral met with the team from OVOT in late 2020 with a common goal of connecting youth with opportunities in retail. The initial conversation has evolved into a program that provides retailers with the opportunity to sponsor youth to go through the OVOT program and then give the youth attending an internship with the retailer.

Ardene, the Montreal-based fashion brand, was the first retailer to get involved in sponsoring a “Get Yo’ Life” retail internship.

Ardene at CF Richmond Centre.
Ardene at CF Richmond Centre. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

“We have partnered with OVOT and retailu on the Get Yo’ Life program because we have always had a culture of giving back.” An Ardene representative shared.”Helping build life skills such as goal setting, adaptability, mindfulness, and gratitude are all aligned with our values, and we are proud to support the OVOT team and retailu as they make this a reality for young people across Canada.”

The first group of approximately 45 youth in Ontario is being sponsored through the “Get Yo’ Life” program. After successful completion, selected participants will be offered an internship at an Ardene location.

“With 40 years of experience in the retail market, Ardene is no stranger to evolving alongside and supporting young people.” said the Ardene representative. “But with so many changes brought on by COVID, and with rising mental health issues, we know that more needs to be done.”

In addition to its head-to-toe offering of apparel, footwear and accessories for women and men, Ardene’s corporate culture has become known for its mental health advocacy. In 2018, Ardene launched its first mindfulness program for stores in partnership with Brain Spa, an innovative organization that seeks to bring mindfulness-based leadership to the workplace.

The “Mindful Moments” program has since grown significantly to include a suite of mental health and mindfulness trainings companywide, in partnership with the likes of LifeWorks and others.

Most recently, the company named its Head of People and Culture, Fil D’Urbano, as Chief Mindfulness Officer, and is a 2021 nominee for the Retail Council of Canada’s Excellence in Retailing Award for its Mindfulness programs.

The opportunity to partner with an organization like Ardene was important to Sabral, who has shared the story on how she started as a PT sales associate in her book ‘The Positive Effect’. After leading organizations like Banana Republic, Starbucks, Apple and as a Vice President of DAVIDsTEA, she created Retailu.

The organization features masterclass style on-demand courses from industry leaders like:

  • Thurston, former VP of Intermix;
  • Solange Strom, former CEO and Founder of L’Occitane in Canada;
  • Meghan Houle, Executive recruiter and
  • Darlene Huff, Former Country manager for David’s Bridal and Disney Store

For more information concerning the ways that your business can partner with Retailu for this program and provide opportunities, reach out to April @

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