Young adults have struggled with unemployment and finding jobs, as the unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds sits at 13.5 per cent.
However, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz predicts that rate should improve over the next 24 months, and he relates it to one thing: internships and volunteering.
Poloz feels this type of unpaid work is worth it because of the experience; however Darlene O’Neill from the Employment and Student Entrepreneurial Services at Fanshawe College has a different perspective.
O’Neill says a graduate student shouldn’t spend more than 6 weeks doing unpaid work, even though they may think it’s going to land them a job.
She says volunteering and interning can be very beneficial for a short time period, and can give youth a foot in the door; but O’Neill feels sometimes young people may find themselves weary about speaking up as they feel they may lose out in the opportunity and in return end up working for free for longer.
The Bank of Canada Governor’s statement relates that unpaid work will in return fill the unemployment gap for young people by about 2017.
O’Neill says if people are working for free, it’s still considered unemployment so she doesn’t know how this will improve the unemployment rate.
She adds employers need to pay their employees in order to fix the economy.
O’Neill says the education experience is number one, and if your education experience involves an intern, placement or co-op then definitely it is a great idea to engage in that opportunity.
She says volunteering is a different concept; it is usually 3-5 hours a week and improves your co-curricular record by giving you those softer skills, which O’Neill says is a great asset to have.
O’Neill feels applied learning is the best way to gain employment when you are finished school, as it demonstrates you have hands on experience.
She says if you can earn while you learn it will greatly benefit you in the future, and you most likely won’t need to take part in any unpaid work after graduation.