Do you remember your first summer job? I sure do. My first job was at summer camp and I couldn’t believe I was being paid to be there. You see, I had started as a camper and was counting down the years until I could be a counselor. I was paid $25 every two weeks and I made $100 that summer. The details of my pay may date me slightly, but suffice to say, it wasn’t the highest paying job back in the day! It did, however, become the first step in shaping the career path that I chose.
Although our world has changed significantly since my youth, everyone still needs a first job. Employment is an important part of the journey from youth to adulthood. It teaches valuable skills and attributes, including the importance of being on time, giving your best, taking responsibility, and getting along with others. When we’re lucky it helps us to discover our passion and interests and helps us to explore careers that align with those passions. Sometimes, first jobs teach us more about what we don’t want to do as a career, but still provide us with learning opportunities and valuable work experience.
Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs is proud to be an employer of youth. About 50% of our staff team is under the age of 29. Our team is largely made up of young people who are going to school or who have recently graduated. They apply their expertise to the day to day work we do with children, youth, and families. They also gain work experience that will shape their careers in the future, regardless of where they land. Unlike some of our team, who have worked with Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs for over 20 years, the stats tell us that young people today could have an average of 15-20 jobs in their life (Future Workplace Survey, Forbes 2012). Experience, transferable skills, and lifelong learning have become more important to our new generation.
Once again, we will provide summer job opportunities and valuable work experience to students who are returning to school in the fall. These students are looking for the skills they need to make informed career decisions and gain the work experience they need to secure and maintain well-paying jobs.
But, what about the youth we work with who are facing significant barriers to employment? What does the future hold for them if they don’t make a successful transition to the labour force? Canada’s current youth unemployment rate for 15 to 24 year olds is 12.8% (Statistics Canada, 2017). In 2015, youth aged 15 to 29 years old with less than a high school diploma had an employment rate of 53.9%, compared to the 86.2% of youth who completed post-secondary education (Government of Canada, 2015). How do we help youth facing barriers develop skills and gain the experience they need to either find and keep a job or to return to school?
We believe academic support helps ensure kids stay in school. Additionally, we believe in teaching young people skills like communication, conflict resolution, and decision making. These skills not only increase employability, but can contribute to youth making a successful transition to adulthood and becoming contributing members of society.
Preparing youth for jobs that meet their needs and interests and providing those job opportunities is important work. Youth are concerned about their futures and eager to explore employment and career options that exist today. When we work together, great futures are possible for everyone.
- Diane Entwistle, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs CEO
“My job with the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs has become so much more than a job for me… I have become immersed in an organization whose contribution to the community is vast and whose work I am passionate about. Being in the administration for the organization, I am not often on the front lines; however... READ MORE
Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs Youth Get Loud
Club Members from across the Okanagan had the opportunity to attend the 2017 National Youth Conference in Ottawa. Learn about the conference and about one of the attendees by clicking here.