Teens at work: What I did for my summer job

Youth reporter Rachel Kwan scopes out the summer job scene in Richmond

Whether you’re 19 or 91, everybody remembers working their first job. From washing plates in the dish pit to folding clothes in the back room, Richmond’s youth will undoubtably be there. 

If you are like me, you’ll try to land the job all by your lonesome. But for those of you who have forgotten the procedure, let me take you through the steps:

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Step 1. Create a resume.

Step 2. Hand an unhealthy amount of them out.

Step 3. Wait by the phone for days until you get a call back (Spoiler alert: you will).

Like me, current McMath student, Kayla Dobson went down the same self-driven route. For the 16-year-old Boston Pizza hostess, volunteer experience is a key factor in getting a job. 

“Having volunteer experience helps with getting hired for the first time,” Kayla said. “Also, try and get a job that you’ll somewhat enjoy and/or somewhere with enjoyable people. If you don’t like the people, then the job probably won’t last.”

Later on, I spoke with 18-year-old Max Kwan, a Best Buy product process specialist. For the recent Steveston-London graduate, an in-school planning course was the way to go. 

“I started in September, two years ago,” Max stated. “My brother was in the Geek Squad, in one of the senior positions, so he got me the job.” 

But, hey, if you don’t have the bravery of Kayla, or the connections of Max, the Richmond Youth Service Agency is here to help.

According to Daylene Marshall, director of programs and services at the agency, RYSA offers great programs for youth entering the workforce. One of them is called YELP (Youth Employment Leadership Program).

“We take youth aged 14-plus through a program where they learn employment skills through resume writing, mock interviews, and creating cover letters,” Marshall said. “Our programs are good for youth with more barriers, who need the support. Especially for youth new to Canada, with high anxiety, or mental health concerns.”

So, there you have it. Three great ways of nabbing you your first minimum-wage job. From self-taught trials and networking, to government-run programs, Richmond offers options for youth looking to make money. 

Working may not be your favourite way to pass the time, but a job can sure teach you a lot of lessons that you just can’t learn from school.

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