Youth Employment Series: Reducing Barriers to Employment for Youth

Home Youth EmploymentYouth Employment Series: Reducing Barriers to Employment for Youth

At the end of September we published a blog outlining the current state of youth employment. We also shared insights on youth-identified barriers to employment.

This post sheds light on ways to reduce barriers to employment and training. We also share a local success story and spotlight Civiconnect – a local organization focusing on developing unique training tools that translate directly into the workplace.

We also are highlighting stories of youth that have engaged in local training and/or education programs.

Barriers to Training, Education and Skills Development – Youth Perspectives

In our previous post we focused on a number of youth-identified barriers to employment. However, youth also indicated there are difficulties accessing training resources to help develop their skills. This is particularly important as research has indicated over a third of post-secondary students did not have the opportunity for Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences due to the pandemic.[1]

Here we outline training barriers identified by youth as reported by YMCA Canada and YWCA Canada[2], NWPB’s youth consultations (here highlighting challenges indicated mostly by high school students)[3], and Civiconnect’s youth survey.[4].[5]

Success Story: Civiconnect Youth Skills Studio

Addressing training needs of youth is particularly important as the ability to improve on skills (e.g., literacy, numeracy, verbal communication, and teamwork) contributes to increased labour market outcomes (e.g., wages, type of employment)[6]. Notably, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario indicates that these skills can be developed through opportunities like work-integrated learning (WIL) programs.

One local program seeking to address barriers to training and employment is the Youth Skills Studio[7], developed through a partnership between Civiconnect and the Town of Lincoln.  The Youth Skills Studio provides its employees with in-house skills development programming alongside WIL opportunities defined as contributing to projects for local employers. Below we have highlighted some of the training successes for the first cohort which finished in August 2021.

For more information on the Youth Skills Studio, please visit their website here.

Civiconnect and the Town of Lincoln will be presenting at the upcoming Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) Move-on conference in February 2022. They will be speaking on the Youth Skills Studio program, and the broader issues in youth workforce development.

Stay tuned for our next posts in this series. If you are interested in monthly updates for local youth employment, feel free to check out our interactive Youth Employment Dashboard.

Would you like to know more? NWPB is ready for your questions. Please reach out to Vivian Kinnaird ( or Thalia Semplonius (

[1] Statistics Canada (May 25, 2020). Study: Work-integrated learning in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

[2] YMCA Canada and YWCA Canada (August 2021). Preventing a lockdown generation: A plan to support Canada’s youth in post-pandemic recovery.

[3] NWPB consultations, Summer 2021

[4] Civiconnect (October 2021). Impacts of COVID-19 on youth in Niagara: A community needs assessment

[5] International Labour Organization (May 27, 2020). ILO monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Fourth edition

[6] Milian,R., Seward, B., Zarifa, D., & Davies,S. (2019). Skills, signals and labour market outcomes: An analysis of the 2012 Longitudinal and International Study of Adults. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.

[7] This project is funded through a Skills Development Fund and the Information Technology Communications Council.

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