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Posted: August 9, 2020

International day focusses on youth

International Youth Day (August 12) gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions, contributions, and initiatives.

The theme of International Youth Day 2020, ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’ seeks to highlight how youth are engaged in various movements locally, nationally and globally. The aim is to boost youth participation and representation within our communities.

Canada’s youth represent about one quarter of the country’s population and have been hit particularly hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing, school disruptions, loss of income and unemployment are taking a toll.

Statscan reports youth unemployment is now at 30%, a rate higher than any other age range. This was mainly due to cuts in part-time work in sectors that were shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Statscan also notes employment fell even more sharply among students, many of whom work in the food service and accommodation sectors, which had the largest declines overall. Much of the long-term economic and social consequences of COVID-19 will be shouldered by youth and future generations.

This only complicates an existing challenge in the Canadian workforce: the skills gap for young workers who are now trying to break into a very changed labour market. COVID-19 is forcing economies and companies to embrace technology and e-commerce. The increasing demand for digital skills has expanded from IT jobs to include the customer service, trades, health and social care sectors.

This is where WorkBC Employment Services comes in. WorkBC offers employment supports specifically targeted towards youth including education and skills training, funding, and work experience.

WorkBC is funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

Submitted by WorkBC Centre Cranbrook

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