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Province introduces new youth jobs

Students will have more opportunity to find work with provincial government this summer

4 min read
caption Minister Responsible for Youth Kelly Regan speaks with former summer student Jennifer West
Ben Jamieson
Minister Responsible for Youth Kelly Regan speaks with former summer student Jennifer West
caption Kelly Regan, minister responsible for youth, speaks with former summer student Jennifer West.
Ben Jamieson

More than 150 government jobs for students will be available starting this spring and summer, the province announced on Friday.

The province said that it will be hiring university, college and high school students throughout Nova Scotia in the coming months.

The first 80 of these jobs will be posted Friday on the government website. The jobs range from camp counsellors to aircraft maintenance engineers.

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These jobs are all part of the Make it Here initiative, a program designed to entice youth to stay in the province by offering them government jobs.

Kelly Regan, the minister responsible for youth, said “we want more young people living and working in Nova Scotia.”

Michaela Sam, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, said these jobs are a start but not enough.

“These kinds of announcements are a step in the right direction,” said Sam.

“But in large part the government’s approach towards students and young people is one that is deterring students from being able to stay in the province, and really showing this government’s contempt for students and young people.”

This government’s announcement comes in the midst of the possible tuition increase facing university students in the province.

Students across the province have been protesting the government’s plan to increase university tuition. The government’s plan to lift the three per cent cap on annual tuition increase could see university tuition rise by 10 to 37 per cent.

Youth leaving the province

Nova Scotia youth leaving the province in search of work has been an issue for some time.

The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia’s annual report on Nova Scotia’s Children & Youth found a significant increase in the number of people under the age of 25 leaving the province, from 681 in 2009 to 2,921 in 2013.

Sam said that with the high tuition rates and lack of work opportunities students have to make sacrifices.

“Students are consistently having to make the hard decision of whether or not they’ll be able to return to Nova Scotia or whether they’ll have to go to other provinces where it’s more affordable and more likely they’ll be able to pursue work and pursue their post-secondary degrees.”

In September 2014, the government promised to create incentives that would keep Nova Scotia youth in the province and get them jobs.

Part of the focus on youth employment stemmed from Ray Ivany’s, “oneNS” final report on building Nova Scotia’s economy. The report concluded that youth leaving the province was a major concern for the province’s future.

Regan said on Friday that jobs for youth is something the government is making headway on. “We made the most progress of any province in dealing with youth unemployment last year.”

Programs already in place

There are other programs in place to help young people get jobs.

The Graduate to Opportunity program encourages private employers to hire post-secondary graduates by giving them salary contributions to offset the cost of hiring these new graduates.

Regan said in its first year the Graduate to Opportunity program hired 98 students, but there are plans to hire an additional 40 in the near future.

Regan said the government is looking at other ways to help get young adults who aren’t in school into the job market.

“Right now it works really well for people who go straight from high school into university or college, doesn’t always work for folks who may be struggling a bit,” she said.

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