High school grads 'not overly optimistic' about finding summer jobs
VANCOUVER -- With summer fast approaching, this is the time teenagers finishing high school would normally start looking for a part-time job. But during a global pandemic, things are different.
Julia Eckert is a talented singer and performer graduating from Cariboo High Secondary School. She’s already been accepted into the fine arts program at UBC, but she’s also a straight-A student and could have picked almost anything.
On top of her academics, she’s also very active in the community.
"There's a senior home right across the street from my school. We volunteer there a lot and play bingo and do stuff like that with the residents," she said.
Eckert has also worked with the Salvation Army, and summer and day camps for kids.
"I’m part of our mentorship program at school so I’ve spent three years as a mentor, working at an elementary school just down the road," she added.
Being an all round student would normally make the hunt for a part-time job a little easier, but not this year.
"It seems that a lot of sort of typical summer jobs for a high school, university student are not really possible right now," Eckert said.
It’s a situation facing many students right now. Kaylee Charland is graduating from Carson Graham Secondary in North Vancouver and is on track to study medicine at Simon Fraser University.
"I want to work in a cafe, for the experience," Charland said. "I’m guessing they won't be hiring or it’ll be very competitive."
That’s shown in the numbers. Canada’s unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in 40 years at 13.7 per cent for May. And it’s very competitive for young people: 29.4 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds don’t have a job.
Andrew Eckert, Julia's father, shares her concerns.
"There’s so many opportunities that won’t be there, like the PNE was always a great place for high school kids who were going into university," he said.
The summer fair is cancelled this year, along with the 2,500 summer jobs it normally offers.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is reopening June 19 but in a statement told CTV News the pandemic has had a significant impact on its business.
"The tourism industry has been hit extremely hard due to COVID-19. The loss of U.S. visitors due to the border closure, Canadian visitors due to provincial border closures, and international visitors worldwide has and is devastating B.C. tourism," the statement said. "As a large seasonal employer in B.C., we will not be offering any of the 200 additional positions usually available this time of year."
For the Class of 2020, it’s one more change they have to adapt to.
"It’s definitely not how we imagined how our grad year to go so it’s a bit of a struggle and an adjustment for everyone,” Eckert said. "But we’re all kind of getting through it together. For the next, like, 50 years of my life I can tell people I was the coronavirus grad class."
Check out more of CTV News Vancouver's Class of 2020 series online, and all week on CTV Morning Live and CTV News at Six.