Published August 08, 2017 18:20
IN the past seven weeks, I have felt my daily routine take on a new purpose: I wake up every morning excited to head to my summer job.
I’m one of the lucky ones. For thousands of youth across Canada, finding a summer job is a stressful and worrying time.
Finding employment is not easy. Most entry-level positions require at least one year of experience. As students head towards graduation with little to no work experience, they worry about how they will start a career in their field of study.
The government has started to help. Thanks to Canada Summer Jobs, a program funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, thousands of students like me will obtain valuable work experience and contribute to organizations and businesses across a variety of sectors.
This year, I was fortunate to be offered a position in the communications department at Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. The non-profit organization focuses on improving the lives of children and youth. Whether that is through physical activity, providing meals and snacks to kids before and after school, or launching national initiatives that promote education, mental health, leadership and more, Boys and Girls Clubs helps 200,000 young people a year at nearly 700 locations from coast to coast.
A non-profit is a unique environment. I have worked alongside people with a diversity of career backgrounds and skill-sets that have led them to this industry. I have also taken on many different tasks and gained valuable experience by contributing to the inner workings of the communications and marketing department.
I have done branding audits of corporate partners, analyzed the marketing efforts of the 96 clubs located across the nation, completed research reports and written content for sections of the national website and social media, among other things. This type of hands-on experience has enhanced my past skills, as well as taught me new ones, all with the end goal of making me more employable.
When it comes to creating jobs for students, Canada Summer Jobs is making a difference. Last year, 65,874 jobs were created through the program, and this year more than 40,000 businesses and non-profits have received funding.
There is still work to be done. One way I believe the Canadian government can improve and expand the benefits of the program is by making recent graduates, youth who are not in school and youth who are in school part time, eligible to participate. When the minimum of past experience can score an interview or even a job, helping young people enter the work force more experienced and more employable is critical.
Thousands of organizations are granted funding each summer through this program. Students can look online to see who has obtained funding and apply for multiple positions. Work experience of any type can make all the difference.
Making money while gaining work experience? It’s win-win. Canadian students should take advantage of the Canada Summer Jobs program to kick-start their careers, build experience and contribute to their future.
Josh Lopez is a third-year business communications student at Brock University.