Helping Youth Navigate Job Market

Students had the chance to learn from human resources experts on how they can put their best foot forward in the job market.

Last week, they, and nine other high school students, were given a head start on how to prepare themselves for life after school, through a three-day employment workshop for Aboriginal youth hosted by the Service’s Employment Unit.

Central Technical School Grade 10 students Taylor Webster and Sunshine are both considering law enforcement careers.

“I now know that first impressions are very important when you are applying for a job,” said Sunshine. “That means dressing well when you are going for an interview and having a resume that’s well-crafted.”

Webster was also grateful for the opportunity.

“It was a great experience just learning about some of the things you need to do to prepare yourself for employment in the real world,” he said.

Following the three-day workshop, the students attended a graduation feast in the headquarters auditorium on February 3.

“There is a sense, and it’s evidence-based, that institutions could become more sensitive to the conditions of our community members if we actually reflect the community we serve,” Deputy Chief Mike Federico told the graduates. “So, in your own small way, you are helping to improve Toronto Police so they can become a better public servant.

“You are making that contribution by participating in your own self-development. You are also providing us with an opportunity to see what we need to do to attract individuals from the Aboriginal community. This is a significant gesture on your part.”

The other project partners were Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training,Pro Action Cops & Kidsand Resume Target, a professional resume-writing service.

“Through our involvement, the young people had the opportunity to go in and download over 1,000 resume templates and cover letters that are already pre-written,” said Aymos Tayts, of Resume Target. “We work with youth to create a new narrative around their backgrounds. We gave them a different way to create a market document for themselves and an idea of what employers are looking for. It’s quite empowering for them because they can create a different kind of vocabulary for themselves.”

Tayts pointed to a young person in the workshop who mowed lawns in the summer and plowed snow in the winter.

“We haven’t had any snow this winter, so he has been unable to find work in his field,” the career management professional added. “We did over his resume, creating a narrative about him being a horticulturalist working in eco-friendly high-end gardens. He didn’t even recognize himself, but it was him.”

Kassidy Goddard said the new resume is paying dividends.

“I applied for a landscaping position and the owner replied, saying he was very impressed with my resume,” said Goddard. “He didn’t have an immediate opening. Now, I feel like I have a chance to get a job because the employer got back to me, which is something that didn’t happen before.”

A teenage boy and girl stand together
Taylor and Sunshine learned a lot about how to look for jobs through an Employment Unit program Photo: Ron Fanfair

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