FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
These are some of the common questions we've received in the past. If you need more information or have a question that is not answered below, please contact us.
FAQ about Eligibility
Q: Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. is a Service Canada program for youth with barriers to employment. What barriers to employment must youth have to be eligible for the program?
A: The assessment of being ‘at-risk’ encompasses a broad range of social, economic and demographic factors. The following list may be used as a guide in the selection of participants, and high school non-completers will be given priority:
- High school non-completion
- Learning Disability
- Aboriginal origin
- Visible or ethnic minority
- Health, drug and/or alcohol-related problems
- Residence in a rural or remote location
- Lone (single) parent
- Low levels of literacy and numeracy
- Street involvement
- Contact with justice, child welfare or social assistance systems
- Homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless
- Lack of social support such as family, friends or community
- Poor self-management and/or behaviour management abilities
Q: What is a Case Manager and how can I access their service?
A: Case Managers work at Employment Resource Centres and they provide referrals to the various employment related programs available. To find a Case Manager near you:
- Visit the Lower Mainland Employment Resources website (www.lmer.ca)
- Look for offices in your region
- Call to book an appointment
This is a free service available to anyone eligible to work in Canada who is un-employed or working less than 16 hours a week.
Q: Why do I have to be case-managed in order to join the program?
A: Skills Link is an employment program which can only work with people who have been referred for service. Case Managers assess individual situations and determine the appropriate program for the individual. Based on this, they issue referrals to the various employment programs. There is no charge for this service.
Q: What if I turn 31 while I'm in the program, can I still continue?
A: There may be cases where a young person is selected for participation in Skills Link at the age of 30 but reaches the age of 31 before the intervention is completed. The Youth is still considered to be an eligible participant until he/she completes the current intervention. If, upon completion of an intervention, the young person has not finished his or her action plan, the case manager may provide a referral to employment services for adults. An individual is not eligible to begin a new Skills Link intervention after having turned 31 years of age.
Q: Can I be receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance when I apply for the program?
A: No. If you are receiving or are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) then you would not be eligible for our program. However, there are other programs available to assist you in your job search or retraining needs which you can access by speaking with a Case Manager. If you are unsure whether or not you are eligible for Employment Insurance you can make an appointment with a Case Manager or visit Service Canada for more information at the following link: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/ei/index.shtml
Q: Can I be receiving Income Assistance when I apply for the program?
A: Yes. If you are currently on Income Assistance you can still apply for the Skills Link program. However, once you are accepted into the program you will need to let your Employment Assistance Worker (EAW) know so they can discontinue benefits. Once you are in the Skills Link program you will receive a minimum wage for 30 hours a week.
Q: What if I have a criminal record? Am I still eligible for the program?
A: Yes. You are still eligible for our program if you have a criminal record. Please note that there are some jobs which require applicants to be bondable or to submit to a criminal record check. Your Employment Counsellor will work with you to identify which jobs you are eligible for based on your past experience, interests and barriers.
Q: I am still in High School, can I join the Skills Link program?
A: No. If you are still in school you are not eligible for our program. However, if you are over 18 and have not completed High School our program can help connect you with educational up-grading opportunities through the Vancouver School Board Education Centres.
Q: I have attended another employment program previously. Am I eligible for Youth S.E.A.R.Ch.?
A: Often not. However this will be determined on an individualized basis as approved by Service Canada.
Q: Can a participant work another job while attending Youth S.E.A.R.Ch?
A: Yes, participants are permitted to work up to 16 hours a week outside of the weekly 30 hours of Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. However, the participant must be able to attend Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. during the regularly scheduled hours and to complete all required competencies.
FAQ About the Program
Q: Can the Skills Link program help me secure housing?
A: Yes. It is important to have secure housing in order to be successful in a full-time work environment. If you are applying for the Skills Link program, the Employment Counsellors can provide you with information and resources for securing shelter or housing. If your housing is at risk during the program, please let your Employment Counsellor know so they can assist you.
Q: Does the Skills Link program provide child care?
A: No. Our program does not have facilities to accommodate day care or child care. However, you may be eligible for Child Care Subsidy when you join our program. Please speak to your Employment Assistance Worker or Case Manager for details.
Q: Does the Skills Link program provide funding for training or certifications?
A: Yes. Part of our program includes certification in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and Occupational First Aid and CPR Level 1. Please note that we do not provide funding for additional education, training or certifications.
Q: Will the Skills Link program provide funding for transportation expenses?
A: Yes. For the first 4 weeks of the program you will be provided with bus tickets. After the first 4 weeks you will be expected to budget your income from the program to pay for your own travel expenses.
Q: Can the Skills Link program provide food or house wares?
A: No. We do not provide food or house wares. If you are in need of food or other necessities, the Employment Counsellors can provide information about resources that are available for accessing low or no cost food, clothing and house wares.
Q: What policies does Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. have around alcohol and drug issues?
A: Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. expects participants to be at least six months clean from alcohol and drug addictions. Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. can help facilitate on-going supports for participants who have had a previous history with alcohol and drugs.
Q: What are the regular weekly working hours for Youth S.E.A.R.Ch participants?
A: Participants are expected to be present 9:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday for the duration of the life skills and employment skills workshops (eight weeks).
Q: Are Youth S.E.A.R.Ch participants eligible for statutory holidays?
A: Yes, providing participants have worked 15 of the last 30 calendar days.
Q: What are the regularly scheduled paydays for Youth S.E.A.R.Ch participants?
A: Paydays are always the 15th and the last day of the month. Payments can be made available through cheques or direct deposits.
Q: What kind of placements are typically available for Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. participants? Can you provide examples?
A: Placements vary and are always discovered on an individualized basis. Some examples are manufacturing, retail/sales, hospitality/tourism, restaurant, office work, social services, mechanical, trades, janitorial, warehousing, landscaping and creative arts.
Q: Are supports in place for participants for whom English is a second language?
A: No. Our classroom does not provide ESL training or supports. For those who need assistance with their English language skills there are Skills Link programs designated for immigrant and youth included those for whom English is a second language. Please see a Case Manager for details.