Get Youth Working! – A simple program that encourages BC employers to hire more youth

The Government of BC announces an investment of $5.3 million to encourage employers to hire more youth.

Funded through the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement, the program Get Youth Working! was initially piloted between January 2011 and March 2012 under the name ‘Youth Skills BC’.

In its first year, the program offered BC employers a $2,000 incentive to hire an eligible youth 15 to 29 years of age. The amount has increased to $2,800 plus an additional $1,000 for training in the second year. To qualify for the funding, employers are required to meet four basic criteria. Employers must:

1)      Be in business for a minimum of one year;

2)      Be In good standing with WorkSafe BC;

3)      Employ the new hire for a minimum of three months and 30/hours week; and

4)      Apply for and be approved for the hiring incentive before a new hire starts employment.

Bowman Employment Services, headquartered in Kelowna, BC, was awarded the contract to administer the program. After exceeding its first year target, which was to have 650 youth hired, the program was renamed to ‘Get Youth Working!’ earlier this year and is expected to surpass 900 participants in its second year.

The premise of the program is really quite simple. It provides a financial incentive for employers to hire youth, which helps youth gain necessary skills and experience to better participate in the labour market and access more opportunities.

Perhaps just as importantly as the hiring incentive itself, employers aren’t bogged down by a cumbersome application process. Once the candidate is identified but before they are hired, the employer completes an online application and the youth is contacted to confirm eligibility. Turnaround time of applications averages just a few days and can even take as little as 24 hours.

Today’s announcement was in many ways the culmination of a targeted effort by Bowman Employment Services to raise the program’s profile. Given the mandate to expand the program throughout BC, the organization worked with local chambers of commerce, industry associations, educational institutions, career colleges and WorkBC employment centres to raise awareness of Get Youth Working! across the province and to ensure that half of program participants come from outside the Lower Mainland.

According to Susan Sambol, Director of Marketing and Communications at Bowman Employment Services, “It was encouraging to see that many of the youth remain employed beyond the initial three month period, despite the fact that employers are only required to hire program participants for a minimum of three months. Sometimes, a simple kick start is all that’s needed to get youth working.”

For more information about Get Youth Working!, see the program’s website.

For more information about Bowman Employment Services, click here.