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Disenfranchised Youth

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The London Riots should be a wake-up call to everyone. Even though the riots seem far from home, the issues that have driven the violence in London are prevalent in North America too. Youth in London feel as if they have no hope for the future because there are extremely limited job prospects. Youth need work experience in order to gain valuable skills as well as income especially if they’re paying off student loans. I was reminded how difficult it is for young people to get jobs in Canada at book club last night. Several of the women described the frustration their teens are experiencing this summer because there’s no work. When I was a teenager, if you wanted to work, there were jobs. They weren’t high paying but they provided invaluable opportunities for gaining the experience needed for long term job prospects. How else are you supposed to know what you want to do in life if you can’t try out different fields of employment? I started working full-time during the summers after grade 9. I was a junior counselor at a children’s camp and I earned $60.00 for a 60-hour work week. Gradually each summer, I was hired for more senior positions so that, by the time, I was working during the summer after first year university, I was the Program Director for a downtown social service agency’s children’s program. Of course, when I applied to Teacher’s College after completing my undergraduate degree, my children’s program work was key to my acceptance. Contrast the above with the experience of youth who are sitting around all summer and relying on their parents for money to see a movie with their friends. Last night, one of my friends described a young woman who just completed second year university but has never been employed. How employable will she be when she graduates? It’s easy to assume these teens aren’t trying hard enough to get a job but I know plenty of young people who have been applying for jobs for months and been unsuccessful. Some young people have opened their own businesses … landscaping, dog walking, graphic artists etc. In fact, my sons have both been hired for small jobs by some of the other mompreneurs I know. The business owners were thrilled with the quality of their work and the lower hourly rates charged by them. If you have an opportunity to hire a student this summer, I would encourage you to do so. You’ll be helping this generation of youth get a taste of the real world of work as well as earn some much needed income. We can’t criticize today’s youth if we don’t get them a chance to succeed!

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3 comments

  • Me too.. Hope I can find work..its hard to find this time its because not all the companies you’ve applying for can passed their qualifications….

    hannamay on
  • Part-time work won’t allow young people to save enough for university especially with the rising costs of tuition. It’s a catch 22 for these youth. Horrible situation for them to be caught in!

    Karyn Climans on
  • I still have younger siblings at home and they are having such a difficult time finding employment. A lot of positions are temp spots or part-time (meaning one shift a week). It’s really hard since they are all approaching college or university education and they would love to save.

    Kimberly on

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