Mention the word ‘youth’ to someone and they’ll likely associate it with an abundance of stereotypes: lazy, constantly strapped to their cell phones, zero ambition, to name a few.
But a good look at the youth in our own communities says otherwise.
Coast Capital Savings and Vancity Buzz are celebrating Youth Week BC by highlighting the stories of outstanding young people in our communities. These leaders have built a richer future for themselves, their peers, and their communities as a whole.
Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program empowers young people to get involved in their communities.
This innovative community investment program – which sees 7% of the credit union’s pre-tax profits reinvested in their communities – is focused on programs that help youth with financial empowerment, healthy minds, and educational success.
Vancity Buzz had a chance to sit down with five inspiring young people who have benefited from Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program to talk about how it’s changed their lives.
Today, meet 24-year-old Pamela Smith, a BBA in printmaking from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She recently completed the Tradeworks Women in the Trades at Tradeworks Training Society, a program supported by Coast Capital Savings.
How did you get started with Tradeworks, and how have you benefited from it?
Knowing that trade jobs in B.C. are expected to increase substantially in the next five years, I assumed there would be programs or incentives for training, especially for women. I found Tradeworks by looking at the ITA website and made an appointment with the program coordinator. In the span of just a few weeks, I was enrolled in the program and on a completely new track. I was fortunate to be offered employment in their fabrication shop after graduation from the program.
What’s one thing you most want to change in the world that would help youth?
It’s excessively expensive to live in Vancouver, and it’s a struggle for a lot of young people to afford it. Not only is the rent astronomical, but it’s also very difficult to enter the skilled workforce out of high school or university. I think having more training programs (or more funding for existing programs) for in-demand jobs would give youth workers an opportunity for higher-paid, meaningful employment.
What community organization or charity is your favourite?
Tradeworks is of course my favourite. I have also become acquainted with a great non-profit staffing/temporary employment agency in the DTES: Embers Staffing Solutions. They have amazing employment practices, including fair pay rates, training opportunities, transportation to job sites, rental gear, holiday pay, and generous overtime pay.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
It’s hard to choose – I worked on a film set for a CBC release movie called Balletlujah and I spent 10 days on a yacht as a cook, touring the San Juan Islands and Southern Gulf Islands.
Looking five or 10 years ahead, what’s the dream?
I’m currently looking into co-op and apprenticeship programs at BCIT, so in five years I plan to have completed school and begun a career in my chosen trade. In 10 years – who knows! I will definitely travel and I’d like to have a small (or not so small) side business. All the while, I hope to continue a relationship with Tradeworks and other like-minded organizations that make a difference.
If you’re interested in learning more about Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program, click here. Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program supports a variety of youth-focused initiatives. This includes the credit union’s signature programs like its Youth Team, and Young Leaders Community Councils. In addition, initiatives such as SFU Venture Connection Program, Youth Futures Education Fund and Tradeworks for Women in the Trades benefit from the Youth Get It investment program.
Tomorrow, we’ll chat with Ben Britton, an entrepreneur who recently won the 2016 Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize with his team.