Ontario's education minister unveiled new details of the province's youth job strategy in Thunder Bay today.
During an announcement this morning at Churchill Collegiate Liz Sandals said the strategy focuses on helping young people develop skills, connect with employers and learn about entrepreneurship.
"We're hearing a lot about students themselves identifying that, for them to get excited about learning, they need to see how it’s relevant ‘to how I would use it in the real world’,” she said.
Grade 12 Churchill Collegiate student Logan Turner said he’s excited about the announcement. He said most jobs require experience — something many of his fellow students don't have time for.
"They're so focused on getting through school with good marks to get into university, and also doing all of the extra-curriculars … there's not necessarily enough time to also have a job as well,” he said. Turner is also a member of the minister's student advisory council.
"All of what the Ontario government is doing right now is helping the students. It's going to help them get that work experience so that they can get jobs and work their way through their careers."
The province hopes to create 30,000 jobs for youth over the next two years, at a cost of nearly $300 million.
According to a news release from the Office of the Premier, the strategy creates four new funds to help young people across the province find work, build job skills and start their own business:
- The Youth Skills Connections Fund - Available for partnerships that match up young people with industry, not-for-profits and academic leaders to help them build career skills and secure industry jobs.
- The Ontario Youth Innovation Fund - Provides internship opportunities for graduate and post-graduate students, and helps postsecondary students launch startups by funding campus-linked business accelerators.
- The Ontario Youth Entrepreneurship Fund - Increased funding for existing programs such as Summer Company and new programs to support the growth of youth-led companies with training, mentorship and seed financing.
- The Ontario Youth Employment Fund - Launched in September, this fund helps employers offer four- to six-month job training placements for youth. This fund has already helped more than 1,200 young people.