Read an update on our employment training for BIPOC and marginalized youth!

October 17, 2020 Featured

EYA is on a mission to guide more Black, Indigenous and youth of colour into leadership roles in the environmental sector. 

This summer, with support from the community, we employed 10 youth facing barriers through two employment programs: 

  • Our Youth Habitat Crew joined EYA’s staff team for a paid summer internship, helping maintain our garden sites while gaining leadership and horticultural skills 
  • We kicked off our new Roots & Shoots Career Development Program with our first cohort of youth completing 10 weeks of job training and land-based learning before beginning a community work placement. 

As part of their job training, youth learned about native plant horticulture, traditional medicine, invasive species removal, garden design, and practiced their public speaking and facilitation skills. They also worked on building job skills such as personal management, teamwork, communication, financial & digital literacy, and how to navigate the workplace. 

The program hasn’t been without its challenges, with youth struggling to juggle chaotic home environments and trauma with the demands of the workplace. Roots & Shoots is fully supported by EYA staff throughout the training and placement, and we’re committed to building the resiliency and skills of BIPIC and marginalized youth so they can overcome barriers to entering the green economy. 

One of our Roots & Shoots youth, Dylan*, shares their story:

I used to do drugs and was worried I was going to relapse after I bumped into some people I used to use with, and honestly I don’t know how I didn’t. I was feeling really lost, and not working and being stuck inside was driving me insane. If I hadn’t taken this program I would have been in a dark place. 

The program gave me an opportunity to learn from Elders and connect with reliable people. I enjoyed facilitating my own workshop, learning about pollinator conservation and harvesting medicines. I also liked that I spent a lot of time with nature and sunshine!

All the job training like time management and budgeting will stick with me, but what I learned from EYA staff and the other youth I cannot put into words – they’ve given me wisdom that I’ll carry in my heart until the day I die. 

Dylan is currently completing his work placement at Britannia Community Centre. 

*name changed for privacy