Parents often take a big sigh of relief after their child graduates from high school, and then frustration grows when winter rolls around and their child is still sitting on the couch and hasn’t taken that leap into the work force. There are a number of ways youth can explore where they fit in the workforce and one of the main resources across British Columbia is WorkBC. WorkBC is a one stop shop website that also has resource centers across the province set up to help people find their place in the workforce. From walking in the door, there is a resource room equipped with knowledgeable staff, computers, and job boards, as well as pre-employment workshops geared to give people the tools and confidence need to take the next step in their journey to work.
WorkBC is equipped with knowledgeable staff that can offer one on one support. A Case Manager is always ready to share with visitors the many government funded programs and resources available to help them find work. One of the most popular programs with youth are the paid employment programs available across the province. These programs are available to those between the ages of 15 and 30 and target different career fields. For example, there are programs geared for those who identify themselves as English as a Second Language, those who want to explore different trades and gain a forklift ticket, and those interested in customer service and hospitality who would benefit from obtaining certificates such a: World Host, Serving It Right, and Food Safe. A Case Manager will guide interested youth to the one that is the best fit for them.
Another affective way for a young person to gain experience in the work force is to look at the opportunities that may be available from their own network. This means looking at what the role models in their life do and asking themselves if they would be interested in that type of work? If so there may be an opportunity to set up a work experience placement; an unpaid experience which gives the young person exposure to a particular professional working environment so they can decide if they would like to pursue that line of work. Throughout this they have an opportunity to network among the working personnel and put themselves forward for forthcoming opportunities for paid work. Often following the completion of the work experience placement, comes with a letter of reference which is beneficial to add to ones resume.
Lastly, it is important to never under estimate the power of volunteering. Often a volunteer job can turn into paid employment, but ultimately it will provide the youth with exposure to a field of their interest. A Case Manager at WorkBC can help link a youth to a volunteer opportunity.
This article was written by Carolynn Jones, a Case Manager with WorkBC. You can contact her through LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/pub/carolynn-jones/32/56/a78.