By Nick Candiotto
Twenty-three-year-old Saji Joseph was out of school, out of work and living in a youth shelter. In fact, he had been out of work for almost one year when he approached the YMCA in March.
"Saji had some difficulty holding onto a job in the past," says Kenneth Lyons, job developer/job coach. "There were some skills and training that he needed -- that's what we could offer."
Enrolled initially in the JobConnect program, Joseph met first with an employment counsellor before being assigned a job counsellor. With his past experience in retail, Joseph's counsellor was able to find him a job placement -- one that did not work out.
"The experience really rattled his confidence," Lyons says. "That's when his job counsellor asked me to get involved."
Lyons and Joseph began meeting and discussing issues that could arise in employment. Joseph also began working on his resume with a resource specialist and set up his voice mail and e-mail accounts at the YMCA office.
"He really accessed all of our services," Lyons says. "That, as much as anything else, contributed to his success."
Most importantly, Lyons and Joseph also began preparing for another interview -- preparation that would soon be put to good use.
"Saji dropped his resume off at Stitches of his own accord -- I had no idea," Lyons recalls. "He just came back from the interview and told me."
"Saji just came to us," says Joann Singh, manager of Stitches.
"We certainly encourage the youth to strike out on their own like that -- the way Saji did," Lyons says. "It showed us, and the employer, that he had regained his confidence."
In fact, Joseph's confidence was evident to his new employer from the start.
"He's very outgoing and wasn't shy at all," Singh remembers. "He's a very quick learner -- that served him well."
So well, in fact, that Joseph has moved from sales associate to a supervisory position in just over two months.
To find out more about the YMCA's employment services, including locations, visit www.ymcatoronto.org
To identify your neighbourhood youth employment centre for hiring made easy at no cost to you, visit www.oayec.org/yejd_locations.html
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