Getting youth working

Celena Sandaker with Bowman Employment Services, Julianna Weisgarber, Railway and Forestry Museum curator hired through the Get Youth Working program, the museum
Celena Sandaker with Bowman Employment Services, Julianna Weisgarber, Railway and Forestry Museum curator hired through the Get Youth Working program, the museum's executive director, Ranjit Gill and MLA John Rustad spoke about the success of the program, which the government will continue to fund, during a press conference Monday.
— image credit: DeLynda PILON/Free Press

The government will continue to support the Get Youth Working program, extending the pilot project through to March 31, 2013, investing nearly $5.3 million in incentives to employers and to help youth gain off-job site skills necessary to hold the position.

"We are living in extraordinary times," Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad said during a press conference at the Railway and Forestry Museum, where the curator is part of the program. "The shift in the market to Asia is remarkable."

He added the province is on the cusp to take advantage of the enormous opportunities this presents, however it needs to continue to invest in the shift and it has to ensure the workforce is available.A shortage of skilled workers has inspired a number of government programs, including the Get Youth Working program, which targets one of the groups of the most underemployed people in the province, youth aged 15 to 29.

"This group is one that tends to have a higher unemployment rate than the rest of society," Rustad said. He explained the Get Youth Working program is a funded through the Canada - B.C. Labour Market Agreement. Up to $2,800 is paid to eligible employers in the province to hire a maximum of three youth. Each must work 30 hours per week on average for at least three months. There is an additional $1,000 for each employer to off-set external training costs so each employee learns all the skills needed to do the job."

"This helps B.C. youth gain the skills they need for the future," Celena Sandaker with Bowman Employment Services, the company partnering with the province to facilitate the program, said.

Julianna Weisgarber, the curator hired at the museum through the program, explained she was a summer student at the museum when she found out she was passionate about them. She wanted to return there to work, however the not-for-profit organization could afford the position.

That's where the Get Youth Working program stepped in.Since taking on the position of curator Weisgarber has learned everything from conservation to maintenance. She has learned to supervise volunteers, helped publish the museum's first book, dealt with donors, tours and planned and built exhibits.

"I've been able to do a lot of great things," she said, including furthering her education long distance with the help of the program through the University of Victoria.

Ranjit Gill, the museum's executive director, said they appreciate the financial assistance and hope to continue the museum's relationship with the program.









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