Creating jobs for area youth


On Feb. 23, the government of Canada announced new funding to support the Kitchener-Waterloo region youth in their search for post-secondary jobs.

Member of parliament for the Kitchener Centre, Stephen Woodworth, made the announcement on behalf of Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development. The funding is provided by the Career Focus program, which is supported by the Youth Employment Strategy (YES).

Annually, YES provides over $300 million to youth programs, such as Career Focus, as well as Skills Link and the Canada Summer Jobs Initiative, that help youth from all types of backgrounds achieve success in the job market, according to the government of Canada’s website.

More specifically, the Feb. 23 announcement was in relation to REEP Green Solutions and the funding is intended to provide this non-profit organization with a new, paid position called the REEP House Visitor Experience internship for a post-secondary graduate student.

Julian van Mossel-Forrester, the communications manager for REEP, gave a brief summary of the requirements of this job.

“The skills involved are public engagement [because] we are working with the community to provide education and inspiration to live more sustainably,” he said.

“[And we are doing that] through our demonstration house. It’s an opportunity to understand what the best ways to engage and make changes in the way we live as a community.”

He went on to state that the intern will be engaged in creating what Mossel-Forrester described as, “Inspirational and educational materials that will be a part of our program, and understanding actually ‘how can we make a difference?’”

The intern will be responsible for creating displays for the Visitor Demonstration House, which is located on Mill Street in downtown Kitchener, and bringing awareness to the key messages and lessons that REEP is committed to educating the community about. Such messages include energy conservation, energy efficiency, using water wisely and preventing contamination of storm water in Waterloo Region.

The funding from the government will help REEP provide this intern with the appropriate skills and experience they will need to enter into a professional career. “It is definitely intended to be a skill building internship for the candidate we choose [and] to help them take the next step in their career,” said van Mossel-Forrester.

When asked if this opportunity was essentially a transition stage for graduate students from school to a full-time career, Woodworth agreed. “That’s exactly correct. [This is] exactly a transition into the job market, for post secondary students.”

Woodworth went on to explain that the Career Focus program actually has a full host of organizations called sector councils, which include not just environmental careers like the one with REEP, but also food processing or wood manufacturing, or textiles and apparel and steel and various different kinds of sector related careers so that students who graduate from post secondary and are looking for a career in one of these areas.

This new funding from Career Focus is just one particular example of how YES is helping to support students after they finish their education. “[This particular] announcement is for REEP but there [is] other similar funding going on under the Career Focus Program,” stated Woodworth.

According to van Mossel-Forrester, “REEP applied for the funding some time ago and [then] we found out we got it.” REEP has already started the process of hiring a candidate for this new position. For more information about this organization and the benefits of sustainable living, visit www.reepgreenca.

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