CORNER BROOK — Whether it is heading out to look for a job, actually going to work, or preparing for their future; six local youth are confident the “tool box of knowledge” they now have will lead them to success.
Six youth from the Corner Brook area just completed Skills Link, a 20-week program funded by Service Canada and Human Resources, Labour and Employment designed to help participants develop essential skills to advance educational or employment prospects.
Whitney Sheppard, Chealse Pilgrim, Matt Wiseman, Chris Blake, Mason Davis and Johnathan Campbell all faced some sort of barrier to employment prior to doing the program. Such barriers listed in the criteria for applicants are single parents, aboriginal youth, young persons with disabilities, recent immigrants, youth living in rural and remote areas, and high school dropouts.
Wiseman said they all had reached a point in their lives when they realized something more was needed to help get them out of a rut.
“Most of us were at a standstill in life, really, not sure what we wanted to go on and do,” he said. “This program is a way to get us back on track and lead us in the right direction.”
While some of the participants were not happy with the employment they had been able to secure, Davis said he wasn’t generating any response from hundreds of resumes he was submitting.
“I didn’t have my Grade 12 or certain qualifications for jobs,” he said. “Now, I have all that on my resume and I am already working at the Pepsi Centre (maintenance).”
Davis said he has grown from out of that dismal feeling of rejection to being able to see a brighter future for himself.
Prior to the program’s closing ceremony held at the Pepsi Centre Friday, program co-ordinator Amey Reynolds said the six participants received various programming and experiences to help them develop an action plan and attempt to achieve it.
Five out of the six participants were from the Dunfield Park community, and five out of six didn’t have a Grade 12 education. One of the participants was also a single mom at just 17 years old. A part of the the growth of the participants was trying to remove the stigma associated with where they come from, Reynolds said.
“Dunfield Park has a negative stigma placed on it, so we are trying to let these kids realize there are opportunities out there for them,” she said. “They don’t have to take this negative attitude and run with that. We want them to continue to have a positive attitude, continue to improve, get their education, and succeed in the future.”
Just what that translates into, she said is up to those six individuals.
“They all have their action plan, they all know what they want to do, and they have all made that step to go further,” she said. “Are they going to do it? I certainly hope so, but that is a choice they have to make.”