More than 860,000 Canadian youth between the ages of 15 and 29 are not working, studying or in training.
For more than 50 years Youth Employment Services or (YES) has been changing the lives of young entrepreneurs across the country.
“We train and help over 12,000 youth a year directly,” said Timothy Lang, president and CEO of Youth Employment Services.
The program also helps tens of thousands more youth across the country through partnerships.
“Not only are programs free, many of the youth actually get paid to attend the programs,” Lang said. “The majority are disadvantaged youth coming with difficult backgrounds. It could be difficult backgrounds, could be lack of education, could be a new Canadian.
“So it’s really inspiring to see how we can really change their lives.”
Empowering youth is what this organization is all about and Alicia Mogent knows that first hand.
“Before I started the program, there was a lot of anxiety, a lot of self-doubt for myself, and just not knowing what it was exactly I wanted to do with my life and where I was going,” Mogent said.
One of their flagship programs is BizStart – a full-time, six month, intensive curriculum that involves training and mentorship assisting youth to start a business.
“A month ago I started a new business called CiaFit,” Mogent said. “ What I do is one-on-one personal training and boot camps which is my main filter of the business. I get people into a class of functional training working their whole body and not just focusing on one part of the body.”
YES provides young people with the tools they need to succeed in business. Things like financing, marketing, pitching, and developing a business plan.
“On top of that, we instill some of the life lessons that good entrepreneurs need,” Lang said. “You’re going to get knocked down and you need to get back up.
“There’s going to be tough times but resilience and persistence are just the key to success.”
“We have close to a 90 per cent success rate,” said Lang. “We’re so proud of that because it’s truly changing lives.”