Programs helping students find summer employment

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Summer break is fast approaching and local non-profits are beginning to prepare to hire for summer jobs.

The Student Employment and Experience Development (SEED) program is a provincially funded program that provides employers with funding to hire students for summer work. Funding is provided to non-profit organizations, provincial government departments or agencies, municipalities and first nations.

In order for a student to be eligible for the SEED program, he or she must have graduated from high school (or equivalent), be a full time student and intend to return to school full time in the fall. Students must also be legally entitled to work in Canada and be a New Brunswick resident for at least the past six months.

When students fill out a SEED application, the applications are put into a government database, which makes them eligible to apply for grant positions. In the past, SEED would actually send a list of candidates to employers, who would then set up an interview. SEED doesn’t currently set students up with jobs unless employers are unable to fill their position and request a list of applicants.

Ken Craft, UNBSJ’s student employment counsellor, says that the majority of SEED jobs are filled by word of mouth, “In most cases, students get hired by talking to friends who refer them to positions,” he says. “An employer would much rather be able to fill a position without having to advertise.”

The average length of a SEED work term is eight weeks. Employers are provided with grants to pay students minimum wage, which may be supplemented by the employer, if they choose. Since SEED provides grants to mostly non-profit organizations, it enables a struggling organization to hire students that they would otherwise not be able to afford. “I think any program that provides summer employment is a good program, it creates jobs that wouldn’t be there otherwise,” says Craft.

The SEED program is only available to residents of New Brunswick, but the Canada Summer Jobs program is a federally funded program available to students across the country. It’s very similar to the SEED program in that it supplies employers with grants to hire students. Applicants must be studying full time and be a citizen of permanent resident of Canada. However, SEED applicants must have completed high school and the Canada Summer Jobs program accepts applicants between the ages of 15 and 29, which extends jobs opportunities to high school students.

While the SEED program has helped many students find summer jobs over the years, it may prove difficult this year because of rising minimum wage in the province. “The government puts in a pot of money and the pot hasn’t gotten any larger, so every time there is a minimum wage increase there are fewer positions,” says Craft.

Applications normally open in late April or early May and are typically advertised on the Government of Canada’s job bank (jobbank.gc.ca).

SEED applications are available in the Student Services centre on the bottom floor of Oland Hall.