Written by: Charles Nyabeze
Hey everyone! My name is Charles Nyabeze and I’m 17 years old and I work as a Business Administration Intern at Future North. This blog is going to take a look at barriers that youth face within employment and specifically, how entry-level jobs have increasingly become “a thing of the past.”
Over the years it has been found that entry-level positions have been getting harder and harder to attain. Job postings are demanding years of experience and therefore imposing age limits and creating barriers for young people to find meaningful work that pays a livable wage. This is making it harder, year by year, for youth like us across Canada to attain entry-level jobs.
Getting your first job:
When I first started job hunting it was a nightmare. Most jobs wanted full-time staff and as a high school student that was impossible. Other jobs had a requirement to be 18, and some required that you have a high school diploma. In fact, I’d say 80% of the jobs I applied for were just unattainable for a high school-aged student, leaving the remaining 20% of positions left for everyone else to compete for. These factors have contributed to the considerably low availability of work for students and young adults who are still trying to build their resumes. Due to the high number of students and youth my age applying for jobs, the entry-level sector has become competitive. Altogether, it took me about a year and a half to finally land my first job.
My Top 3 Approaches
How can we win this competitive race and come out employed? Thankfully, there are ways to do it! And I’ve broken down the top 3 ways to obtain meaningful employment as a youth in the District of Sudbury-Manitoulin.
- Community Organizations
Community organizations that are geared towards helping youth are important connections to develop in order to get ahead. For example the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario, Spark Employment Services, The N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre, and Future North: A Network for Youth. These organizations each host tons of workshops for youth to learn new skills, and they will also help you get employed! In fact, the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre also offers to help you get your Driver’s Licence if you identify as an Indigenous person living within the City of Greater Sudbury. For more information about organizations that are out there to serve you, check out the Community Map at www.futurenorth.ca and search under the employment category.
Future North is a Network for Youth that has been co-developed with youth in the district! The people from Future North are committed to working side by side with youth to help create opportunities for them. On top of this, these organizations are actively advocating for youth inclusion in businesses and boards, so, I highly recommend checking them out!
Improving yourself and adding to your skillset is the best way to improve your chances of getting high-level jobs; for example, for my current job I had to go out and learn a ton of skills in order to be a good fit. So how do you find and learn new skills? My best suggestion is the all-powerful Google, you can learn anything on Google. I suggest learning any skill you are interested in. For example, I was interested in design so I took some online courses, I was then interested in Digital Marketing so I took some online courses. To add to this, there are many options for training and micro-credentials that are free! For online courses, I would suggest LinkedIn Learning and Coursera.
- Strong Network
If I’ve said it once, imma say it again. Your network matters. Knowing people is a huge asset. Talking to people and creating valuable connections in your community is crucial to finding good jobs as a youth in our community. Once you know the owners, managers, even employees at a job, your chances of getting a job at the place increase exponentially. In fact, according to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking. According to CNBC, 70% of jobs are never published publicly (Apollo, 2021.) This goes to show how important it is to create a strong network, to start connecting with as many people as possible, either through social apps or through events that are happening in real life.
After reading through this it may seem daunting to begin, after all, this requires a lot of leg work on your part. And that’s completely okay! I can relate. But, by using resources in your community, improving yourself, and having a strong network, you increase your chances of employment 110% more than if you didn’t try those strategies at all. So, what can you do now? I say, start learning a new skill and start using your community resources. The team at Future North is here to help you in your journey of professional development, connect with us at www.futurenorth.ca or www.futurdunord.ca or on Instagram at futurenorth.futurdunord and we can help you get started in your pursuit of a better, more employable you!