By Karolina Grzeszczuk

In a society that values the imagined virtues of being youthful – limitless possibilities and the energy with which to tackle any project – the reality of being part of today’s youth and entering the changing world of work is a very different ballgame.

As a Millennial, I have witnessed many of my friends and schoolmates navigate their careers with uncertainty, caution and trepidation. Many are burdened by school debt and some have become bitter that their degrees have not automatically opened a door to a job in their field. But how bad is youth unemployment and underemployment?

Unemployment affects youth in Canada somewhat significantly, sitting at around 13.2%, compared to 7.1% for the overall Canadian unemployment rate. Canada’s figure is lower than the staggering 49% unemployment that youth in Spain have to contend with but it is still a daunting figure for a generation that faces high student debt, economic uncertainty and the newness of the “gig economy.” How can youth obtain the experience they will need to develop their career prospects if entering the workforce is prohibitive with high unemployment rates?

To complicate matters youth face a number of barriers, for example: individuals who suffer from mental health issues typically experience the onset of illness between the ages of 14-29, which can negatively impact their ability to obtain an education and valuable work experience.

The situation certainly seems bleak but it is not without hope. Career professionals, educators, employers, parents and other guardians, indeed anyone who works with youth, are well poised to help calm their fears of an uncertain future and to help them navigate their careers in a positive direction.

What are some of the tools and techniques career professionals can use to help their young clients find employment and develop their skills in the face of uncertainty? Read this issue to find out!