Youth paving the way for their own success
Creating jobs for Islanders -
Advice from Island youth is helping the provincial government make progress on initiatives that are focused on their future success.
Input from the Youth Futures Council and annual YDAY events is contributing to efforts to build a more skilled workforce, enhance our province’s culture of entrepreneurship, and recruit and retain a talented and productive population.
“Hearing directly from young Islanders has made all the difference in helping government move forward on a variety of initiatives that are improving our education system, our economy, our cultural sectors and more,” Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant said. “These efforts show how we are the Mighty Island when we use our small size and interconnectedness to our advantage, working closely together to focus on making big things happen.”
The Youth Futures Council plays an important role in youth engagement in Prince Edward Island, including organizing the annual YDAY PEI event. The council advises provincial government on ways to enhance programs, policies, strategies and resources for youth.
With the help of the Youth Futures Council, a number of great youth-focused initiatives have begun or expanded, including:
- expansion of the Graduate Mentorship Program, supporting 275 young people with job placements so far this fiscal year;
- creation of the Career Connect program – helping over 800 PEI university students to receive Employment Insurance benefits while studying; and
- expansion of the Community Service Bursary, with 200 students participating annually and about $300,000 provided to Island students over the last three years.
Moving forward, a number of new initiatives are underway thanks to advice from Island youth:
- surveying Islanders living away on how we can help them move back to the province;
- expanding the successful Team Seafood program to create Farm Team PEI, a work experience and bursary program for high school students working in the Island’s food sector;
- enhancing experiential education and work-integrated learning at UPEI
- revamping the student business program to meet the evolving needs of youth starting a business
- facilitate a discussion with entrepreneurial organizations to develop a mentoring program for new businesses
"It is such a fulfilling and rewarding experience to listen to our peers and take action on their concerns and the issues they face,” Youth Futures Council member Nicole Mountain said. “Island youth have a voice, and as the Youth Futures Council, we want to ensure those voices are heard.
“YDAY helps us make effective recommendations to government that reflect the thoughts of young Islanders,” she said. “This has already opened the door for conversations regarding housing, retention and employment opportunities, with even more to come."
The Youth Futures Council will soon present their findings and recommendations to the Learning Partners Advisory Council to provide feedback to leaders in education in Prince Edward Island.
The YDAY PEI 2017 report -- a summary of recommendations and next steps from the Youth Futures Council – is available at www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/youth-futures-council.
Since the formation of the Youth Futures Council, members have been involved in:
- 15 meetings since November 2015
- two formal recommendations to cabinet
- four departmental consultations relating directly to policy development
- government and community tables to provide a youth perspective on topics like population development, regional economic development, poverty reduction and experiential learning
- co-hosting an online focus group with the department of Family and Human Services on the topic of Housing and housing issues for youth; and
- organizing two YDAY events
Since YDAY 2016, the following actions have been taken:
- adding student well-being teams in the public schools system;
- creation of the Career Connect program;
- expansion of the Community Service Bursary;
- expansion of the graduate mentorship program;
- creation of the Ellevate program – an internship for young females pursuing a career in entrepreneurship;
- more resources to help international students connect to the workforce;
- release of PEI Culture Action Plan;
- integrating career and future planning into curriculum;
- earlier food and nutrition education in the curriculum and bringing nutritionists into schools;
- improved internet for rural Prince Edward Island;
- profiling rural PEI success stories;
- connecting newcomers to potential employers;
- improved accessibility for energy efficiency programs; and
- integrated communications strategy to bring awareness for mental health programs for youth.