Christian Rollan, a grade 12 student at Pope John Paul II High school, sang O’ Canada with “true patriot love” Saturday morning as part of his emcee duties at MPP Margarett Best’s 5th annual Youth Career Fair.
Rollan, a vivacious and inspired high school senior has applied to International Business programs at local universities and has a passion for public speaking, but like many of his peers he knows job prospects are bleak, partly from media reports and through the whispers of his friends who talk of the resumes they have dropped off and the calls they never got.
“I am afraid of not being able to find work.”
– Christian Rollan
“I am afraid of not being able to find work, but all I’m hoping is that through things like this and my training in high school and university it will make it easier for me to find a job,” Rollan said.
Best, the Minister of Consumer Services and MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood hosted the annual career fair Saturday morning inside the student centre of Centennial College’s Progress Campus. The event is aimed at helping Grade 7-12 students find summer employment and community volunteer experience.
Best welcomed the students who braved the frigid weather to come to the fair.
“It is my greatest wish that today will be the beginning of the path towards a rewarding future and career for all of you,” Best said.
“When youth succeed all of Ontario succeeds, and we will continue to work diligently to improve access for all of Ontario’s students to post-secondary education” said Best, who also encouraged students to use the event as a chance to network with peers and potential employers.
The Summer Company booth was very popular among the students in attendance. The program, run by the provincial government, encourages the development of entrepreneurial skills, by helping 15-29 year olds develop a business plan, and then implement it. Successful plans and businesses receive a grant of as much as $3,000 to invest in their business.
“Businesses have ranged from landscaping, frozen novelties, custom-made jewellery, to photography,” said Kriss-Ann Cousley with the Youth Partnership Wing of the Ministry of Economical Development and Innovation.
It is never too early to start planning ahead.
“We’re hoping to open up entrepreneurship as a viable option for young people, a lot of our students have turned their hobbies into successful businesses,” Cousley said.
In January, youth unemployment in Ontario rose to 14.5 per cent and, as graduation and summer approach, the number is expected to grow. This trend has many students looking for summer employment now.