What is a “young” worker?
If you are between the ages of 15 to 30 you may qualify as a young worker for a number of employment programs in British Columbia
There are many definitions of a young worker.
Statistics Canada defines a young worker as a person between 15 and 24 years of age. A young worker can also be defined as a person without much work experience.
Note: In BC, if you are between 12 and 15 years of age you cannot work without written consent of a parent or legal guardian. You must be supervised at all times by a person 19 years of age or older.
The Vancouver Public Library has a number of books on looking for work for younger adults. The titles below are just some examples:
Career Exploration and Job Search
- Career Focus Canada A Personal Job Search Guide / Helene Martucci Lamarre, 2014. Central Library 650.142 M38c3
- Welcome to the Real World: Finding your Place, Perfecting your Work, and Turning your Job Into your Dream Career / Lauren Berger, 2014. Central Library 650.1 B49w
- Your First Job: The Recent Grad’s Indispensable Guide to Getting A Job / Daniel W. Quillen, 2015. Central Library, 650.142 Q67y
- Knock ‘em Dead : Secrets and Strategies for First-time Job Seekers / Martin Yate, 2013. Central Library, 650.142 Y31ks
- Don’t Wear Flip-flops to your Interview And Other Obvious Tips That You Should Be Following to Get the Job You Want / Paul Powers, 2015. Central Library, 650.144 P888d
Resumes and Cover Letters
- Best Resumes for College Students and New Grads / Louise Kursmark. 2012. Central Library, 142 K96b 2012
- Résumé 101 A Student and Recent Grad Guide to Crafting Résumés and Cover Letters That Land Jobs / Quentin J.Schultze, 2012. Central Library, 650.142 S38h1
- The Perfect Resume: Resumes That Work in the New Economy!/ Daniel W. Quillen, 2016. Central Library, 650.142 Q67p1
Volunteering is a good way to meet people who might help you get a job in the future. It shows potential employers that you have the initiative to learn new things.
Getting work experience can be difficult for young workers. You need experience to get a job, but cannot get a job without experience.
One way to get work experience is by volunteering. As a volunteer you offer your skills and time to not-for-profit or charity organisations without payment in return.
Search the sites below to find local volunteer opportunities:
- Volunteering – City of Vancouver
A wide range of volunteer opportunities with the City of Vancouver and in the community.
- Volunteer – Vancouver Youth
Youth-specific volunteer opportunities with the City of Vancouver.
- North Shore Youth Volunteer Directory
A list of organisations around the North Shore and Vancouver looking for volunteers for posted positions.
- Volunteer Opportunities – YMCA
Build skills and meet people in a broad range of volunteer opportunities with a community focus.
Note: It is not legal for “for-profit” businesses to offer volunteer positions. You must be paid at least minimum wage ($10.25/hr) for any work done at for-profit businesses.
For more ideas on how to get work experience see:
Networking is still one of the best ways to find employment, regardless of age. If you have been in Canada for a few years, you may already have a network of family and friends who can help you with your job search.
Another option is to grow your network by joining a professional association or using social media to connect with like-minded professionals.
For more information see:
- MeetUp is the world’s largest network of local groups. Many of these groups are based on professional networks. You can search the Vancouver site for groups with similar career interests.
- Find a Job Through Social Networking: Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and More to Advance your Career / Diane Crompton and Ellen Sautter. 2011. Central Library, 650.13 S26s1
- Friend of A Friend: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform your Life and your Career/ David Burkus, 2018. Central Library, 650.13 B959f
Job Boards for Young Workers
- Job Bank
Do an advanced search to look for “Student and Youth jobs”.
- Job Postings – Vancouver Youth
Paid and volunteer postings around Vancouver.
A range of jobs in BC.
Employment Programs for Young Workers
- SUCCESS – Youth Services Programs
Promotes the personal growth and career development of young people through a wide variety of programs ranging from the youth volunteer group, to employment, entrepreneurial development and leadership training
- Youth in Trades – Industry Training Authority
Training options for youth in high school and recent graduates who are interested in the trades.
At-risk youth from 15 to 30 can apply to get training for entry to the workforce.
- YMCA – Youth Employment Bootcamp
For youth ages 15-30, this program includes 4 weeks attending paid workshops, followed by a 12-week work experience placement
- ISS BC – Youth in Tech
For immigrant or refugee youths 18-24, this program includes training in web development, digital marketing/design, or information and communications technology, paid work experience, and more
- Get Youth Working
Offers Employment Counselling, Job Entry Skills, Certificate Training, Paid Work Experience, Mentoring and Post Job Placement Support to eligible youth 18-24 years of age
- Youth Employment and Skills Strategy – Funding Programs
Lists all government programs for youth in Canada.
Tip: Make sure to check the requirements for young worker programs. Often government-funded programs have special requirements such as:
- place of residence
- whether or not you’ve received employment insurance recently
- if you are a student
- if you are within a specific age range
Looking for Summer Work
- Young Canada Works
For students and new graduates between the ages of 16 to 30. Register with the program to apply for culture and heritage jobs across Canada.
- YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange Program
For students 16 to 17 years of age to live and work in a new place in Canada to improve their second official language skills.
- Youth Programs on Parliament Hill
Gives students a chance to work in government offices in Ottawa.
- Summer Guide Job – Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
Gives university students who can speak languages other than English a chance to tour visitors around the Legislature over the summer.
- Tree Planting Companies
Seasonal work planting trees in all parts of British Columbia and across Canada. Most hire in January/February for the summer season.
- Agricultural Labour Pool
Search for seasonal and permanent agriculture jobs in BC.
- Summer Camp Jobs in British Columbia
Seasonal work in a variety of jobs at summer camps around BC.
- Youth Hires Program – BC Hydro
Summer job opportunities for students to get hands-on experience in trades and technical careers.
Your Rights as a Young Worker
The BC Human Right’s Code states that an employer cannot refuse to interview, hire or promote you or decide to fire you because of your age.
A potential employer cannot ask your age; the only acceptable question is whether you have reached the legal working age (12 years old).
In BC, you are protected from age discrimination in the workplace related to:
- employment (hiring, firing, or terms and conditions of employment);
- age requirements in employment;
- membership in a trade union, employer’s organization, or occupational association (such as excluding you from membership because of age, or discriminating against you due to your age).
Note: If you are under 19 years of age, you are not protected from age discrimination, but are protected from sexual harassment, race-related discrimination or disability-related discrimination.
If you have experienced age discrimination
- If it is safe to do so, tell the person firmly that their actions or comments are unacceptable and ask them to stop. If you find this difficult, consider asking a friend for help.
- Keep a written record of exactly what happened and when and what was said.
- File a human rights complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Filing a complaint starts a legal process that is similar to a court proceeding. Assistance is available when either filing or responding to a complaint.
See the following resources for more information:
For information on rights for workers under 15 years old see:
- Young Workers Zone – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety
Tools and advice to stay healthy and safe in your workplace
- Resources for Young Workers – WorkSafeBC
Articles on safety in the workplace specific to youth.
- Employment Standards in BC
Know your rights as an employee in British Columbia.
- Moving Ahead Program
An education, job search and life skills program for young adult immigrants aged 15-25.
- Young Canadians. Government of Canada
Useful links to guide you through every stage of the job-hunting process.