During the Good Jobs Summit, General Electric Canada CEO Elyse Allen said Canada’s youth unemployment problem may be because student skills and jobs are not aligned.
University graduates are swimming in tuition debt and struggling to find a job. Today, an academic degree no longer guarantees a good job.
Statistics says there are 376,700 Canadians between 15 and 24 years looking, but can’t find paid work.
After three days of discussion, eight workshops, and nearly a 1000 participants, the summit concluded that education needs to be linked to real job opportunities.
Most graduates entering the workforce are equipped with book knowledge but lack on-the-job experience, Allen said.
Students typically intern for free during the summer to acquire relevant work experiences, but a portion of students from low-income families cannot afford unpaid positions. This affects their ability to land a job after graduation, multiple participants shared their concerns at the summit.
“There’s a need for employers to invest more time training new employees,” Jessica McCormick, national chair of the Canadian Federation of Students and a speaker at the summit said.
McCormick spoke about how schools and industries need to start talking to one another in order to meet each other’s needs and benefit students. She said companies also need to recognize the importance of investing in new employees which will benefit them in the long run.
The Good Jobs Summit is a three-day national dialogue between workers, students, governments and employers on finding solutions and new approaches to jobs and the Canadian economy.
It is organized by Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, with more than 305,000 members across the country from major sectors of the economy.