The Employment Services Centre of Prescott-Russell (CSEPR), on average, receives at least 500 summer job postings from employers in the Prescott-Russell region looking for students to fill seasonal positions. A large portion of these positions stem from the service industry, mainly being the restaurant business and retail, but there are also other jobs that need to be filled in the farming, construction, and tourism industries, among others.
The Centre begins receiving job postings from employers in March, and according to Carole Muise, the CSEPR’s communications agent, listings usually continue coming in all throughout the summer. « Some positions are more difficult to fill than others because some positions require more skills than others,” she explained. “At the farm level, for example, it is difficult because sometimes students are a little less tempted by this field. We are in a rural area, so there are certainly different factors that can affect whether or not positions are filled.”
The Centre offers the Youth Job Connection Program (YJCP) to support youth seeking employment. This program is divided into two components – one for youth aged 15 to 29, and one specifically for students aged 15 to 18 seeking summer employment. To benefit from the summer employment program, candidates will have to be students returning to school. As part of the program, these students are offered 20 hours of paid workshops and training activities to help them with their job search.
« We give workshops that will help them in their employment process, we help initiate them into the workforce, we explain how to interact with an employer, » said Muise. “The beauty of the YJCP program is that after the workshops, we help them to be placed in paid internships, and then, if their performance goes well, it gives them a job.”
One of the biggest challenges Prescott-Russell faces, in relation to youth and employability, is the mass departure of young people from the region. “Prescott-Russell experiences the exodus of our young people,” said Muise. “They leave elsewhere and then return with great difficulty.” To try to remedy this situation, the CSEPR introduced the Job Succession Scholarship, in which 14 high school graduating students can benefit from a $ 5000 scholarship if they hold jobs in the region. This year marks the second year these scholarships are awarded.
This amount is payable in a minimum of two installments: the first installment of $ 500 will be paid to the recipient upon signing the award agreement and subsequent installments of $ 500 will be paid for each summer job held with an employer in Prescott-Russell, up to a maximum of five consecutive installments. The remaining amount of the scholarship will be paid to the recipient upon completion of post-secondary studies and after three months of employment with an employer in Prescott-Russell. « It’s really about bringing young people back, but it’s also about bringing back skills, » said Muise. “It’s a very good program.”
A new era
The CSEPR has made some changes over the last year, having instilled a new management team last November, to help not only the students of Prescott-Russell find employment, but to help all those struggling to find employment, ranging anywhere from a first job to a second career. « We have a new management team, it brings a wind of change to the Centre, » said Muise. “We now offer a guidance service with a certified guidance counselor. We now have an immigration service for newcomers to the region, a project we just launched in April.”
Also as a new service, the Centre’s development officers are now liaison officers. « The difference is that now the Centre is working to be a link between a need (a need for an employer who needs a specific workforce) and finding a solution to meet that need, » explained Muise.
The idea is that the CSEPR is the go-to place for everything related to employability in Prescott-Russell, whether it is for students looking for summer employment, employers looking for specific skills or new residents in the region who want to establish themselves in Prescott-Russell.