Little help for Greater Trail students seeking summer work

Service Canada surveys indicated web based services were preferred by youth.

High school students and returning college students looking for help finding a job this summer have limited options when it comes to accessing any kind of professional assistance in the Greater Trail area this year.

There hasn’t been a federally funded student employment officer assisting youth with their summer job search skills and tracking down casual seasonal jobs in Trail since 2010 and it doesn’t seem likely to change in the near future.

“Service Canada claimed that, according to their surveys, youth preferred web based services,” said Carol Corbett, Employment Services Manager at the Skills Centre in Trail. “There isn’t really any in-person services available to provide help for them to find summer work anymore, it’s all web based.”

The Government of Canada, Services for Youth, website (www.youth.gc.ca) offers online advice on a number of employment related topics, such as resume and cover letter writing, interview skills, where to look for a job, and a link to the on-line student/youth job bank.

A quick glance at the job bank indicates four postings in the West Kootenay-Boundary area, three in Castlegar and one in Nelson but none in the Greater Trail area.

“Jobs that end up posted there are often there because the employers have applied for funding to provide student employment positions and are directed to post there,” said Corbett.  “We’ve currently got about 10 jobs posted on our job board and website for student and casual positions in the Trail area but they don’t make it to the national site.”

While students in higher population regions such as the Okanagan or the Lower Mainland have numerous retail and food service outlets that can potentially provide entry level positions that could be summer employment jobs, the much smaller service industry sector in regions like the West Kootenay offer considerably fewer opportunities for young people.

There are some provincial programs targeted towards youth, such as the “Get Youth Working” website funded by the federal and provincial government.

That site provides information and even funding assistance to employers who provide youth jobs, however, these services are limited to people who are not attending either secondary or post secondary education and already have some attachment to the labour market.

The latest unemployment figure from Statistics Canada for April indicate a decline in jobs for Canadians aged 15 to 24, placing the unemployment rate for youth at 14.5 per cent, as opposed to 5.8 per cent for those aged 25 to 54 and 6.1 among people 55 and older.

There are no available provincial statistics for the region based on age groups.

In the Greater Trail area the Skills Centre still provides a local online job bank and computers, fax, and copying services at their employment service centre with a limited degree of guidance for job seekers of any age, but unfortunately one-to-one employment assistance is limited.

“Our contract limits what we can help with,” said Corbett.

“For anyone attached to the K-to-12 system or college and university, if they are returning to school in the fall, all we can offer is self-serve with some support with the job boards and some of the tools we have available. In terms of one to one employment services students might be falling through the cracks.”