By Andrea Carey
Get an education and get a job, right? Not necessarily.
Canadian youth unemployment stands at over 17 per cent, a figure which prompted a message sent by CIBC President Holger Kluge to London area business owners Monday urging them to take action against the current youth unemployment crisis.
Last year, CIBC formed the Corporate Council on Youth in the Economy. The objective of the council was to help businesses committed to improving youth employment find the expertise, information and inspiration to do so, Kluge said.
There is no magic solution to youth unemployment, but business has the greatest role to play in resolving the problem as they are the primary creator of employment opportunities in Canada, he said.
Suggestions were given to business leaders at the meeting, which included reaching out to schools starting at the primary level, starting more internships and implementing policies allowing employees to share their job expertise with young people.
Many employment agencies currently exist, but unfortunately, most are not geared towards young people and students, said Steve Cordes, executive director of Youth Opportunities Unlimited in London. The employment agency and training centre focuses on young people and helps 2,500 students and youths find jobs every year.
The agency posts positions in the Human Resource Development Canada job bank and aids young people with resumé writing and interview skills at no charge, Cordes said.
Western's own Student Development Centre is very successful in helping students find employment through job listings posted on the Internet, said Sharon Lee, coordinator of Student Employment Services. The centre also does a great deal of on-campus recruiting and interviewing.
An internship program placed 68 students in 12 to 16 month internships last year. Although the majority of past internships have been in the engineering domain, Lee said they are hoping to find more internship opportunities for students with more general degrees.
Students interested in internship placements can also look to Career Edge, a Toronto based business, which works with various companies and posts positions on the Internet, said Adeel Haider, an employee of Career Edge.