Youth unemployment on the rise

Nardia Lugsyshyn, 21, never took job hunting seriously during her late teens. She had the support of her family and saw no need or a rush in finding a job.

Lugsyshyn and her family moved to Toronto from Ukraine more than four years ago but as she got older and her support system became less effective she realized she had to find a job.

In typical fashion, Lugsyshyn sent out resumes to numerous businesses for several months. However, not having gone to college or gained ample work experience, she met only with disappointment.

Lugsyshyn is now enrolled in an employment placement program and is hopeful that this can better her chances in finding a job.

“Some months there were like three times I got a reply to my resume but after … I was just waiting to see if anyone would answer,” she said.

According to a report released on Oct.2, 2012, by the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF), unemployment has risen among those between the ages of 15 and 24, finding that up to 19.8 per cent in that age group were unemployed in 2012, up from 17 per cent in 2011.

TCF is an independent public foundation that produces an annual report called the “Toronto Vital Signs Report” which identifies the progress Toronto has made against challenges such as poverty and unemployment.

President and CEO of TCF, Rahul Bhardwaj, believes that there is no simple solution to the complex issue of unemployment in Toronto.

“Its creating a real strain on the youth here … as we become more of an aging population one would think that this would provide more opportunities for youth but that’s coming at a very slow rate. So getting youth job training in an emerging market is going to be really huge,” he said.

Stefanos Habtu, coordinator of the connections and employment placement program at St. Stephen’s Employment and Training Centre said people such as Nardia Lugsyshyn enrol in their program seeking help.

He said the centre pushes young people into untapped job markets and teaches them how to use strategies, such as networking, to their advantage. But, he admits that the state of unemployment in Toronto is serious and understands the challenge young people face in their search for work.

“[Unemployment is] really high… they are struggling and some of them lack experience and the other problem is that their expectation and the employers’ expectations don’t match,” he said.

“Maybe for this reason employers want to employ more adults, more mature people … and there is big competition now with so many people looking for work.”