Youth turn to service industry

Grande Prairie’s youth are seeking jobs in the service industry, an industry that appears to treat them well.

“From the Youth Engagement Awards, for youth employment it seems like the service industry seems to be the most supportive of youth,” said the City of Grande Prairie’s Youth Services supervisor Cara Jones.

“A lot of the youth have fully paid for their school; it’s pretty amazing to me to hear that they’re pretty much debt free is so amazing. It’s like, ‘you don’t even know what you just did for yourself!'”

Jones says businesses such as Jeffery’s Café, Mr. Mikes and The Keg are highly sought after employers by city youth, and came out on top at this year’s Youth Engagement Awards.

“The general consensus I get from the youth is that they look for places where they can advance as they grow older and places that have a high engagement aspect, and those were the three who won this year at the Youth Engagement Awards, for those reasons,” said Jones.

Jones said many students in Grande Prairie start their careers as hosts and hostesses at restaurants, eventually moving up into different positions as they age.

She also said most of the youth she has interacted with have found jobs through online resources, such as

Jones believes there are not many limitations keeping young people from finding work in the city.

“So far what I’ve seen from Grande Prairie is that it’s very supportive with the youth. When (the youth) have told me they’re going to look, they haven’t had a hard time finding work.”

There are legal restrictions in Alberta for workers under 18, but they exist to protect youth from unfair and dangerous working conditions, according to Alberta Employment Standards.

Adolescents between the ages of 12 to14 are allowed to work certain jobs including hosting, flyer and newspaper delivery, or as clerks in offices and retail stores.

They are not permitted to work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m, and can work no more than two hours on a school day.

Young persons, between the ages of 15 and 17, can work any type of job but must be supervised by someone over the age of 18 if they’re selling food or beverages, gasoline or fuel, or working in a hotel or motel.

They must also be in the presence of someone 18 or older between 9 p.m. and 12:01 a.m. They cannot work between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m.