Fewer young people have been applying for tourism jobs on Prince Edward Island, according to those who work in the industry, so operators are looking to people 55 and older to help fill the jobs.

One of the provincial government programs helping people move into that field is called Passport to Employment, part of SkillsPEI's initiatives for unemployed workers aged 55 to 64.

There are programs in most industry sectors in the province, and the Tourism Industry Association of PEI (TIAPEI) runs one specifically for people interested in the service sector.

"Tourism traditionally has hired younger people but those numbers are definitely declining," said Kathy Livingstone, human resources director for TIAPEI. "And the big thing now for employers is they want older people because they have like a lifetime of experience that they can bring to the job, they're dependable and the big thing is they're flexible."

Rainy shopping

P.E.I.'s tourism industry is turning to workers 55+ more and more. (CBC)

Passport to Employment is a three-week workshop that helps people with writing resumes, practicing interviews, and searching for jobs.

Guest speakers from the tourism industry give advice, and while the program doesn't guarantee employment, it does show people where the jobs are, and how to get them.

Usually those in the program are a mix of people looking for full-time or part-time work.

Kelly Gray of Georgetown was a resident care worker until she was recently laid off when the facility closed.

Now she's looking for a new path in life.

"I have done a lot of different jobs, and now maybe it's time to find something more permanent," Gray said.

"I think it's great," she said of the course. "I will be with other people in my age group and we're all kind of struggling with the same problems of finding work."


Kathy Livingstone of TIAPEI says employers like the dependability of workers 55 and over. (CBC)

Robert Musil of Murray Harbour also recently found himself laid off, after years selling insurance, and then inspecting hydrometers.

He's always loved golf, and thought he'd like to spend his last three years before retiring working on a golf course

"Customer service is the big thing that I've dealt with in my life, and that can be translated into the tourism industry so I'm really hopeful something will come of it," he said.

About a dozen people showed up Tuesday to an information session in Montague, which is the maximum number the full course takes.

"September is what we call the new July, so when kids go back to school in the end of August, if they hire just younger students, that leaves a lot of employers scrambling," said Livingstone. "So this way the mature worker is there and they can work right throughout the fall, you know, various shifts, and they just make a good fit."

The workshop starts on March 29 and runs five days a week for those three weeks, again in Montague.

TIAPEI will be running the same workshop in Rustico at the same time.