Many Canadians under 24 are unemployed

According to Stats Canada, approximately 420,000, or 14.3 per cent Canadian youths under 24 are unemployed, that is one in 10,

Dear Editor:

According to Stats Canada, approximately 420,000, or 14.3 per cent Canadian youths under 24 are unemployed, that is one in 10, but some say the real number is much higher, around 20 to 25 per cent. Even the Stats Canada rate is more than double as the national average.

Canadian industry prefers to hire experienced workers over new graduates. The Conservative government therefore opened the doors to unprecedented numbers of immigrants, up to 250,000 every year, to be increased to 400,000 in 2014. These workers in most cases have to be language trained, (taxpayer money) culturally integrated and their education and skills are often not coherent with Canadian standards.

For high school grads who chose a higher education, the average student loan — depending where you look — is $30,000 to $60,000. Our Canadian kids have two choices: to pay the interest on these high student loans: fixed rate of prime plus five per cent or a floating rate of prime plus 2.5 per cent. A student loan of $30,000 on a fixed rate and an average 10-year period to pay it back is $45,657. The normal interest rate for a line of credit from a bank is prime plus one per cent so our government is making money from our students. After six months the student loan has to be paid back, (while interest is accounted from the time of graduation). This is our investment in Canada’s and our children’s future.

During the decade or more of paying back the student loan plus interest, these young Canadians are not able to purchase a house or even a car. This will obviously not contribute to our economy.

CBC news aired a documentary on Canadian companies hiring grads as “interns” and not paying any wages. About 300,000 Canadian grads are working for free. Bell was one of these companies.

The US now has $1 trillion in student loan debt. The Canadian student loan debt is estimates at $22 billion.

Some countries in Europe however, invest into their future. In Germany for example, university education is free, always was, no student loans. Every large company takes apprentices and lets them finish their four years in the same company. Many of these young people are then hired by the same company. Also students have the option to finish in high school at age 16 to proceed to an apprenticeship.

The Canadian education system must incorporate skills that enhance student employ- ability directly into the curriculum. Education and work related training must be combined, this would allow youth to find jobs and close the learning gap that exists when students transition into the work world.

The Harper government needs to legislate the apprenticeship program so Canadian industry is taking apprentices more readily, thinking more about our own children and their future than always acting in the interest of big industry. Big industry in Lacombe County for example, is either taking no apprentices or a handful for six months. I think they have a responsibility to give back to the community.

Foreign workers are snapping up jobs and our Canadian youths are on the streets, jobless. I doubt a Canadian university graduate who put 4. 5 or even seven years into difficult studies, stress and student loan debt does not want to be independent and working.

Show the government where our priorities are, with our children or the big industry?

Ilse Quick