Ris­ing to new heights

Province ex­pands pro­gram that com­bines youth ed­u­ca­tion with work ex­pe­ri­ence

Truro Daily News - - Colchester County - BY HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

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

HARRY SUL­LI­VAN/TRURO NEWS

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.

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