The Ontario government has announced a NEW Youth Employment Fund aimed at creating 25,000 new job opportunities for youth. This Fund, an extension of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Employment Ontario program, is designed to provide youth, aged 15-29 with entry into long-term employment through job placements, learning work skills while earning an income. Successful outcomes of this new fund are employment, education and training. The Fund was rolled out by Employment Ontario Service Providers September 23, 2013.
The benefits to youth in accessing this Fund is job specific training, long-term employability, employment supports (up to $1000), an introduction to a career path and the ability to connect with employers and the community.
The benefits to employers are wage incentives for the duration of the placement (Up to $7800), placement length is 4-6 months which builds capacity and in-depth training goals, training incentives towards job specific training/education, pre-screened candidates, assistance with succession planning, individualized assessments to needs and goal setting.
The labour market in all sectors has been fluctuating over the past few years, and with current trends seen in the socio-demographics like the baby boomers retiring, the demand for new workers in the workplace is imperative. The Youth Employment Fund is a fund that can address some of these forecasted gaps in the labour market and is essential in the placement of, as well as the retention of employees.
As the Fund benefits both employees and employers in Ontario, it is a mutual agreement and both parties have responsibilities in working with each other for success. An example of this is of a recently placed 26 year old male who was hired by a local Guelph masonry company. The employer, who is a strong advocate for supporting young people within the workplace as well as in his local community, has identified the training needs required for this youth to be successful as a Brick and Stone Mason. The individual needs, discussed between employee, employer and Service Provider identifies First Aid Training, and masonry tools as paramount in assisting the youth in beginning his career in the industry. (Fall Arrest Certification is also important but as the youth has already obtained this, it is not applicable for this particular placement scenario). A percentage of the youth’s wages are reimbursed to the employer for the on the job training as well as the individualized training the youth will require. The Service Provider has created a detailed training plan with both parties in regards to accountability, responsibility, and maintenance and job retention. The employer who is also upgrading his education, and who is an advocate for education is encouraging youth to obtain his GED, and to this extent, will be introducing him to teachers in a local adult learning institution.
The impact of the new Youth Employment Fund can be measured by not only the number of youth placements, but on the responses by local businesses in the Waterloo Region and in Guelph and Wellington County. Success is determined on an individual basis: by the youth, by job retention, by employer buy-in and by more youth within the labour market.