The marginalisation of youth at-risk has long been an issue of fundamental importance for our economy and society. As we have progressed to a knowledge-based economy, the demand for a skilled labour force has become both accelerated and inevitable.

Finding employment in today's increasingly competitive job market can be a strenuous task for anyone, especially for youth facing multiple barriers to employment many of which are underscored by a disadvantaged background. As a result, these youth are often overlooked. When they succeed in securing a job, these youth tend to be employed in sectors such as services, which are highly volatile and very sensitive to expansion and contraction due to business and economy cycles. As well, these youth face the additional challenge of direct competition for the same jobs with other skilled young workers, further reducing their chances of getting employed. So not only is it difficult for them to find or sustain a job, but also when they do find a job, they tend to receive lower wages than average.

Under these circumstances, where competition is intensified, many unskilled youth and school-leavers are often ill-prepared for today's labour market and become left behind and disconnected from the workforce. Finally, the exclusion of youth from the labour market can create a perpetuating cycle, whereby employers will continue to select the best skilled and discard the rest.

It is in this context and of paramount importance that youth receive support and guidance in becoming work ready. Gordon House Youth S.E.A.R.Ch. strives to help youth gain the skills they need to navigate their lives in a meaningful and proactive manner and facilitate their integration into the world of work. Through our classroom-based workshops and work experience placement, youth have the opportunity to engage in practical hands-on training and develop or enhance skills needed to sustain employment. Our aim is to connect youth with work that will be a stepping stone for future success or re-connect them to higher levels of education for further participation in lifelong learning.

"In a recent poll, 47% of the youth applicants were receiving Income Assistance or through parents or relatives on Income Assistance."