Calgary youth learning vital job skills to eliminate barriers to employment

Syrian refugees among those benefitting under Skills Link program

CALGARY, Sept. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - A total of 48 high-risk Calgary youth, of which more than half are expected to be Syrian refugees and immigrants, will learn how to overcome barriers to employment, learn critical job skills and prepare to transition to the job market or return to school, the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs announced today.

Minister Hehr, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, at the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. The Society ensures that new Canadians are welcomed and that they are able to adjust to Canadian life while settling in Alberta.

The Enhancing Refugee Youth Employment Outcomes, a project to be delivered over a 33-week period under the Government of Canada's Skills Link program, will help 48 youth overcome barriers to employment and develop a wide range of jobs skills. Included in the program is a 10-week paid work experience where youth will be placed in entry-level private sector positions where demand is high.

Skills Link promotes skills and education as the key to labour market participation. Successful Skills Link projects include programs that provide group-based employability skills or upgrading critical on-the-job skills such as problem solving, time management and effective communication. Participants can also obtain specialized certification in areas such as health and safety and first aid. They are also connected with employers so they can gain paid work experience.

Skills Link is part of the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) and helps support young Canadians, including youth with disabilities, single parents, youth who have not completed high school, Indigenous youth, youth who are recent immigrants and youth living in rural or remote areas.

Quotes

"Young Canadians facing employment barriers want to build their own future in the workforce and contribute to their communities at the same time. The Skills Link program aims to facilitate workplace experience and help them succeed in their careers and lives."
– The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

"The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society is to be congratulated for its great work in helping to settle, train and educate Syrian youth that have arrived here in Calgary. Thanks to the Government's Skills Link program, these young people will have great futures."
– The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs

"Refugees face many challenges in their new country. Studies and evidence indicate that youth within this population face additional challenges that need to be addressed in order to provide them with the ability to participate in all aspects of community life. Investments, such as this innovative program, are crucial in providing the required skills and motivation for young refugees to realize their potential and strive to achieve it."
Fariborz Birjandian, CEO, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

Quick Facts

  • Funding of more than $425,000 is being provided for the Enhancing Refugee Youth Employment Outcomes program.
  • New investments from Budget 2016 will permit Skills Link to serve 11,000 more youth than in the previous year.
  • In 2014–15, ESDC helped 6,563 youth under the Skills Link program.

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Budget 2016

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Youth Employment Strategy

The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada's commitment to help youth make a successful transition to the workplace. The YES helps youth between the ages of 15 to 30 get the information and gain the skills, job experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workforce. The YES includes Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience, and is delivered by 11 federal departments.

  • Skills Link helps youth facing barriers to employment—including single parents, youth with disabilities, Indigenous youth, young newcomers and youth in rural and remote areas—to develop employability skills and gain experience they need to find a job or return to school.
  • Career Focus helps post-secondary graduates transition to the labour market through paid internships and helps provide youth with the information and experience they need to make informed career decisions, find a job and/or pursue advanced studies.
  • Summer Work Experience provides wage subsidies to employers to create summer employment for secondary and post-secondary students. The Summer Work Experience program includes Canada Summer Jobs.

Each year, the Government invests approximately $330 million in the YES to help young people gain the skills and experience they need to find and keep good jobs.

Budget 2016 builds on that amount and proposes to invest an additional $278.4 million in 2016–17 in the YES to help nurture and develop the underutilized talent of Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities, single parents and newcomers, by:

  • Creating new green jobs for youth;
  • Increasing the number of youth who access the Skills Link program, which helps young Canadians overcome barriers to employment;
  • Supporting employment opportunities in the heritage sector under the Young Canada Works program; and
  • Making new investments in the Canada Summer Jobs program

Skills Link Program

The Skills Link program is a component of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy (YES). Through funding for organizations, the Skills Link program helps youth overcome barriers to employment, develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market and to promote education and skills as being key to labour market participation. These barriers include, but are not limited to, challenges faced by recent immigrant youth, youth with disabilities, single parent youth, youth who have not completed high school, Indigenous youth, and youth living in rural or remote areas.

Skills Link aims to:

  • help youth overcome barriers to employment;
  • develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market; and
  • promote education and skills as being key to labour market participation.

 

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: John O'Leary, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, 819-654-5611; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


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