‘I took a leap of faith and here I am today’: Ontario program guides young people toward careers in skilled trades
Johanna Eriksson, the co-founder of the Future Generations Youth Development program, says the group has developed a unique approach to young people by providing comprehensive resources and practical skills in the most affordable way possible.
“I felt we needed to be creative in finding solutions for our youth to transition into jobs and programs that wouldn’t put them in a situation they wouldn’t want,” Eriksson says.
The Future Generations Youth Development program, which is an initiative under the Ontario Youth Commission, is an intergenerational program that supports young people during their transition from high school to university.
Eriksson and co-founder Dan Sargent wanted to help young people who were “at risk of falling off of the education ladder,” says Eriksson, adding they would often be stuck in low-skill, low-paying jobs.
“We figured there needed to be a way to help them get past the barriers that get people into jobs,” Eriksson says. “If you looked at what those barriers were, they were often people who didn’t have enough work experience, they didn’t have enough education, they had bad credit, they were black and they were LGBTQ.
“That really limited their access to better jobs and so we thought there are more ways to help youth who are at risk to get into better roles in better jobs than we are currently doing.”
To help young people overcome these barriers, the organization was looking for something that was easy and affordable, and to that end, decided to turn to the skill-training program for young people offered by the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Co-operative.
“To be able to implement the program we decided to start with our own youth, and we wanted to make it affordable and to make sure it worked for the young people who wanted to participate,” she says.
“That’s why we chose the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Co-operative program (CMTCC) because we know they are working towards the goal of helping those at-risk young people to move away from the skill-deprived jobs and into jobs that are more interesting, that they’re more beneficial and they are more satisfying and they are the type of jobs where young people