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Will you find a job after university?

Aga Khan Foundation Canada makes a stop in Halifax for Youth (Un)Employment university lecture series

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In a time when youth unemployment is a major concern, many students wonder if they have any hope of finding a job after graduation.

The Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s 10th University Seminar Series focused on this topic in their seminar “Youth (Un)Employment: Global Problems Meet Local Solutions.”

The seminar on Oct. 22 brought students and experts together to discuss how best to create economic opportunities for young people.

Erin Markel, a principal consultant at MarketShare Associates emphasizes youth unemployment has not only economic costs, but also social ones.

Markel says young people, defined by the International Labour Organization as between the ages of 15 and 24, are three times as likely to be unemployed. Unemployment includes those who are actively searching for work and have not found any.

Inactive youth – those unemployed and not in school – concern Markel the most because they are not advancing their skills and are not seeking work.

“They’re the ones who tend to stay in poverty,” she says.

Underemployment, referring to those poorly paid and overqualified, is also an issue.

“Say you graduate from university and you go to work at a restaurant and you don’t want to be working at the restaurant. You would be considered underemployed,” Markel says.

Denise De Long, a project manager for Greater Halifax Partnership, added that 42 per cent of working Nova Scotians between 25 and 35 with a university degree are working jobs that do not require one.

Abdul Malik, general manager of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program in Pakistan, shared his experiences tackling youth unemployment in a country where two-thirds of the population is under 29 and 75 per cent is below 35.

Malik says focusing on soft skills development, such as teamwork and collaboration, is essential for youth to find employment.

De Long says these transferrable skills will not only help young people get a job, but will also help their career advancement.

“If you don’t have a personality that makes people want to work with you and makes you a good part of the team, you’re not going to get the job.” She said.

The seminar includes stops at University of Calgary, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and McGill University.

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