By Sophie O’Reilly –
The job market is a tricky realm for high school students. Many young people today are only just beginning to enter the work world and are looking not only to earn money for their future, but also gain experience in a work environment. The fact that many high school students do not yet have prior work experience can make for difficult job hunting. However, there is part-time work available locally and many stores and restaurants in Kitchissippi employ young people. In the fall, Dovercourt Recreation Centre was recognized by MP Catherine McKenna as an outstanding youth employer in Ottawa Centre. Youth jobs at Dovercourt include lifeguarding and being a counsellor. Canadian Tire on Carling Avenue and Shoppers Drug Mart in Westboro are also major youth employers in the area.
According to Vanessa Ippolito, a grade twelve student at Nepean High School and employee at Coles in Carlingwood, her work experience has helped her change and grow in a positive way. For example, she says she has become a more patient person. “There are things that you learn in a work environment that you can’t learn anywhere else,” says Vanessa.
Annika Walsh, a grade twelve student at Nepean High School and employee at Farm Boy in Westboro, says that working in the store kitchen has taught her important life skills. Learning how to communicate clearly is key. “As a Farm Boy chef we are still considered customer service representatives, so being able to communicate with a high degree of effectiveness is necessary. And time management… that is probably the most important [skill].”
Vanessa agrees. Time management is extremely important for young people who work part-time. “Working as a student isn’t always easy. You have to balance work responsibilities and school responsibilities,” says Vanessa. “When you do learn how to juggle these responsibilities, you get better at prioritizing and planning out your time.”
Students are often busy with schoolwork and extracurricular activities, but the pressure is on to get a job. The exciting prospect of a post-secondary education and life away from home – as well as the associated costs – await everyone.
Sophie O’Reilly is a grade 12 student at Nepean High School.