Georgina Vincent has a saying: “Be the best you can be in the moment you’re in.”
As the facilitator of the Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre’s Youth Job Connection (YJC), it’s a motto she shares with the program’s participants on the first day of their three-week journey.
“A lot of times, the youth that come into the YJC program are facing some kind of barrier, whether it be lack of education, no access to transportation or little support,” says Vincent. “For me, what’s so incredible to see is how much they grow by the end of the three weeks.”
In order to be eligible for the program that pays $14.25 an hour for 25 hours of training a week, participants need to be aged between 15 and 29 years old, unemployed and not enrolled in school full-time.
Due to COVID-19, the program that used to be held in-person is now online, but that hasn’t made it any less effective. Quite the contrary.
“Going virtual has made it possible for some youth who couldn’t attend the program before, due to having children or not having access to transportation, to be able to,” says Vincent, “so the virtual world has really enhanced it.”
During the first week, participants explore what they’re good at and what they enjoy.
Focusing on their strengths, interests and skills helps them identify possible job fields which are investigated further using tools like online assessments, group discussions, presentations and guest speakers from supportive community resources, such as the Oxford County Community Health Centre, Fanshawe College and Contact North.
The second week is devoted to career and labour market research, while the last week focuses on job searching, resume writing and interview preparation. “The process improves their self-confidence, it lowers their anxiety and it creates a sense of community and connectedness,” says Vincent.
“I think that’s especially important now, during COVID-19.”
In addition to the program, the Multi-Service Centre also helps youth who lack the technology to job search, need professional clothes or help getting to interviews. Since its launch in November 2015, YJC has helped 363 youth with the job search process.
Thanks to funding from RBC’s Future Launch program, the MSC also holds a monthly networking event for youth aged 15 to 29, that includes a guest speaker, one hour of networking and pizza that is graciously provided by Boston Pizza — and which participants can have delivered at home.
The next networking event is being held February 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The topic is Youth Voices – Struggles vs. Success and will include a talk from a youth guest speaker. To register, RSVP by text message to 226-721-1118 with your name and email address. For more information, visit multiservicecentre.com.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre.