A conversation with Erin Godard, GM for Arrive and Prepped

Erin Godard has recently been announced as the General Manager of both Arrive and Prepped, two ventures who are coming together to solve one of the biggest challenges both students and newcomers face – finding employment.

Since its founding, Prepped has helped students launch their careers and find their dream jobs. Arrive supports newcomers (many of whom are international students) prepare for and adapt to Canada. As both companies’ goals and strategies evolved, they identified an unfilled need in the market. If they combined their efforts, they could create a solution to help international and domestic students find employment, since it’s a common pain point for these demographics and is a necessity to thrive in Canada. This propelled the decision to bring Prepped and Arrive together.

We recently spoke with Erin to hear directly from her on the changes made to Arrive and Prepped and understand what’s in store for the future.

Can you tell us more about you?

I started my career in accounting and spent several years auditing financial institutions, but wasn’t convinced that I wanted to spend my entire career in the field. I took some time off and volunteered in Rwanda as a bit of a reset. That trip turned into me and my partner spending three years in East Africa and starting a social enterprise called Haystack Africa, which teaches students practical skills, so they can successfully enter the accounting industry upon graduation. When we decided to come back to Canada, I worked in the start-up space and eventually found my way to Arrive. I was intrigued by their social mission and I wanted to be part of something so impactful for newcomers to Canada.

Why are Arrive and Prepped teaming up?

With Arrive, we have been on a journey to learn how we can make the biggest impact for newcomers coming to Canada. In the early days, we were focused on the entire newcomer experience and provided tools and support throughout. Over the years, it became very clear that where newcomers need the most support is in solving their biggest pain point: finding meaningful employment. Since its founding, Prepped has always been focused on the employment space, so it was a natural fit, and if we worked together, we knew we could do something that hasn’t been done before.

What are you most excited about in the new role?

With Prepped and Arrive coming together, I am most excited about focusing on the biggest issue that those entering the Canadian job market face. Those who are entering the Canadian job market today will be driving the Canadian economy tomorrow and we see an unfilled need for this group.

I am also excited by the diverse and talented team we have to tackle this challenge. By bringing both teams together we now have experts in many different fields like product, marketing, and customer success, all working on this solution, so I think we are set up really well.

Can you tell us what you have learned about your target market that most people wouldn’t know?

While all graduating students need to learn how to write their resume and to customize it for each application, international students who have completed their studies in Canada need a little additional support to be able to land their first job after graduation. They are at a disadvantage because they don’t have a support network who is familiar with the Canadian job market and who can give them tips and advice or open doors for them. They are also under more pressure to find a job fast because they have a limited amount of time to gain enough work experience in Canada and apply for Permanent Residence before their Post Graduation Work Permit expires.

As the teams are coming together, what’s their biggest goal?

Our mission is to prepare the next generation to launch their careers in Canada. Our biggest goal is to ensure those entering the Canadian job market today, whether they are graduating from school in Canada or newcomers with years of professional experience, will meet their career and financial goals.

What’s on the horizon for Arrive and Prepped through the rest of 2022?

There are many exciting things we have planned for the rest of the year. Prepped has already had a strong start to the year, and was recognized as a 2022 EdTech Cool Tool Awards finalist in the hiring and internship solution, and professional skills solution categories. We also have a number of partnerships in the works with post-secondary institutions, which will help us to get in front of the right people. With Arrive, we are expanding RBC’s student GIC program, marketing for the first time in two new countries, Brazil and Peru. We also have a pilot in the works, which focuses on providing specialized career coaching to international students. Overall, the next six months will bring lots of experimentation and learnings, giving us a much deeper understanding of how we can best solve the employment challenge for our customers.

If you know of any students (international or domestic) who would benefit from a service like Arrive and Prepped, please send them our way!

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.


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