Rising to new heights
Province expands program that combines youth education with work experience
A pilot project introduced last year that provides youth with education assistance and work experience has been elevated to a permanent program.
Career Rising is designed to support dependents of clients receiving income assistance through the Employment Support and Income Assistance program and youth in care, between the ages of 15 and 19.
The program is delivered in partnership with the Province’s Department of Community Services and the Nova Scotia Cooperative Council and provides skills development camp and work experience within resource sectors such as agriculture.
“And our goal with this program is to give young people valuable work skills and experience while helping them plan for the future,” said Kelly Regan, Nova Scotia Minister of Community Services, during a recent announcement of the move at Yuillcrest Farm in Old Barns.
“And now, students who are looking to gain work experience, earn wages and explore careers within their communities have more opportunities to do so through the Career Rising program,” she said, from inside a barn at the farm.
“At the same time, we’re also helping the agriculture resource industries in our rural communities find keen workers,” she said.
Last year’s initiative saw 15 youth participating. This year, that number grew to 34.
One of those was Kyle Rushton, 19, of Truro who did his work term with the Truro Raceway/ NSPE grounds.
When initially informed about the opportunity, Rushton was a bit hesitant about what was involved when he heard it was agriculture-related. There were visions of baling hay and shoveling manure but those miscon- ceptions were soon put to rest.
“At first, I didn’t think I would like it that much but once I got into the program and noticed what it is all about, I actually really liked it…” Rushton said.
“It helps a lot because it opened my eyes to a lot of things you can do on a farm. It’s not just farming itself… It’s construction, it’s carpentry, it’s everything,” he said. “It’s something nice on your resumé, it gives you a lot of work experience, especially hands-on, and it’s also paid so that helps too.”
The program involved a twoweek orientation period, during which all youth participants completed a farm safety course and were certified in First Aid.
“These youth have not only developed new skills but, more importantly, have built confidence, trust and hope,” said Diane Kelderman, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Cooperative Council. “It was a new concept that hadn’t been tested before.”
The program’s success also relied heavily on partners “in the field,” she said, or in this case, the farms the youth were partnered with.
Darrell Kuhn, president and CEO of the Community Credit Union, said he immediately wanted to become involved after hearing about the education and employment aspects of the program
“We knew that this was a great opportunity for us to encourage and support a group of young students who may have an interest in a post-secondary education but may see it as out of reach because of financial challenges,” he said.
The success of the program also prompted an announcement by Kuhn that the Credit Union will be committing $12,000 per year to a tuition trust to specifically support future Career Rising participants.
“It’s not just farming itself … It’s construction, it’s carpentry, it’s everything … It’s something nice on your resumé, it gives you a lot of work experience, especially hands-on, and it’s also paid so that helps too.”
Kyle Rushton, 19, Truro
Kelly Regan, Nova Scotia Minister of Community Services, was in Old Barns recently to announce expansion of the youth education and work experience program called Careers Rising. Here, she speaks with a few of the people attending an announcement in Old Barns.
Darrell Kuhn, president and CEO of the Community Credit Union
Diane Kelderman, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Cooperative Council.