New funding means employers can get $2,800 hiring incentive plus $1,000 for training for each of three new hires
by LORNE MALLIN
Chloe Scarf was feeling burned out as a new entrepreneur trying to keep her Crescent Beach hair salon alive all on her own.
“I was really hitting despair,” said Scarf, who moved from Commercial Drive to South Surrey to launch Seventh Heaven Hair Gallery and Bio Salon Ltd. in September 2007.
She had tried attracting established stylists with their own clientele who would be aligned with her holistic hairstyling vision of using organic, non-synthetic products. No go. Three years ago, Scarf gave a junior stylist named Kaitlin Sheridan a chance, but she needed more confidence and training so it didn’t work out.
Then last year Scarf learned from a client about the provincial Get Youth Working! Program, which, in its January 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012, pilot phase offered a grant of $2,000 for hiring young people aged 15 to 29 for three months, as well as $1,000 for training costs.
Scarf applied for the program, brought back Sheridan and sent her to an advanced cutting course at Suki’s Advanced Hair Academy in downtown Vancouver.
“It made a huge difference,” said Sheridan, who was kept on after the program and now has her own repeat clientele.
“I had no idea how satisfying it would be to give a young person an opportunity and watch them blossom,” Scarf said.
“[The program] has made the difference between actually going forward and completely not,” she said. “My five-year lease is coming up and I really think that if the program hadn’t been here to lend us a helping hand … I just may have had to throw in the towel.”
The $3 million pilot phase of the program, which was developed by the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, created more than 650 opportunities for youth, said Susan Sambol, director of marketing and communications at Bowman Employment Services Inc., which administers the program.
New funding began April 1, which is provided through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement. The year-long extension aims to create 900 jobs and sweetens the incentive by boosting it to $2,800 per hire while the training subsidy stays at $1,000; each employer can hire up to three young workers.
“The employer’s commitment, in order to receive the hiring incentive, is to hire the individual for a minimum of 30 hours a week for three months,” Sambol said. “Many of the employers have kept those youth working longer than the three months.”
She said the application for employers is simple and can be approved very quickly.
But the program is for youth they are about to hire, not those already working for them. “If they’ve already started, I’m sorry we can’t fund that hire,” she said.
If the youth quits, or is not a good fit for the company and is asked to leave, the employer will receive a pro-rated amount of the $2,800.
Employers are responsible for their own recruiting, Sambol said. But there is a job board at the program website, www.getyouthworking.ca, which at press time listed a wide range of work, from an entry-level cleaner for a boat-cleaning company to a store manager for a Langley computer store.
First published in Business in Vancouver, issue 1174.
From Next June/2012