I don't know if anyone will be able to give some advice, but I'll try to be to the point. I graduated from the Child and Youth Worker program from Humber College in December 2013, and I was wondering how likely I am to be hired as a Child and Youth Care worker still. Will any employers still take interest in my resume or would they rather a fresh graduate? If I complete relevant courses, will that help me? I don't have any paid work experience as a CYW (only internship and volunteer work) which is one of my disadvantages.
Also, where should I volunteer to take the best step in gaining and refreshing my skills, and work towards a career there down the road? I’m thinking maybe a homeless shelter would be a good start, or the YMCA?
I'm an educational assistant right now so I have some relevant training but I'm still far from where I could/want to be. Can anyone offer some suggestions for me?
I had a friend who graduated in 2001, worked with youth but not as a Child and Youth Care for a number of years after, recently went back into the school setting as a Child and Youth Care for a pilot project. So the reality is absolutely you can still get hired on, depending on your skill set and the area you are trying to get back into the field. Some areas are saturated with Child and Youth Care new graduates looking for work, however now is a good time as many who've graduated are already employed, and there isn't a current graduating class to compete with like there would be in summer.
Places to volunteer, womens shelters, schools (but might be difficult as you're already employed. Here the school board doesn't employ CYC's typically, but they recently were funded for the project my friend is doing), custody/detention centers (offer to help with programming), youth homeless shelters (here we don't have any, but in larger centers there are), Native/Metis friendship centers (you don't have to identify usually to help or receive services at a friendship center), rec centers.
I would tell you to absolutely get out there and go for it. Experience, whether paid, volunteer or other...is crucial, not only for personal and professional growth and learning, but for competing for jobs and positions.
There are endless opportunities for volunteering....and volunteering is so very far from being a “disadvantage’. Acknowledge what you are really interested in, skilled at already, or would like to learn, and then find spaces and places that will allow you to gain the experience.
Do you have an idea of where you would like to work in the future? Your ideal setting, shifts etc.? Do you want to help people in crisis, with learning, or who are ill?
The opportunities are endless. Set a goal and then go for it. You’ll be able to work through the process that you will be assisting other people with, yourself, so that you can see how to overcome self-doubt, external barriers and other distractions.
If you have your CYW diploma, you are set. There are always other diplomas or degrees available to obtain but it really depends on your personal preference and goals.
All the best!
Thanks for your enquiry and hope that this may offer you some supportive suggestions.
First of all, I feel it is more important to focus on your skill sets than the time that has passed since holding the "official" job title of child and youth care worker. Knowing people who have been both recent and past graduates, their pathway to finding a job is the same... fill in applications anywhere that you may be interested for volunteer/work positions, as often they will keep potential candidates on file for 6 months to a year. Within your cover letter and resume, input the skills sets/assets you are using as an EA with a Child and Youth Care flavour. From personal example, I myself was employed under the support staff position of 'Educational Assistant' for a time period in one educational system, however, engaged children and youth through our professional lens and framework; thus, it promoted and activated my work as a CYW in that system. It will speak to how viable you are a as child and youth worker.
Secondly, furthering your education is always beneficial. It keeps you current in this ever-changing field and keeps your brain processing via thought, action and reflection; further, it can validate your work as a professional. I gather you are currently working somewhere in/near Toronto in the school system? There are many options for further training/education: i.e. Ryerson's Child and Youth Care program (part-time and full-time direct entry), the OACYC offers training/workshops, via the school system you may be able to get relevant additional PDs – ask your principal, and just keep putting feelers out as other people may know of training/workshop opportunities that may result in being beneficial and of interest to you.
All the best,