Youth employment skills program offers final cohort at Assiniboine in the new year

Student sitting at desk with books

Assiniboine Community College will welcome eight students into the final intake for the Government of Canada's Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program, delivered in Brandon.

Since 2020, the 11-week program, funded by the Government of Canada, has graduated more than 70 students across six Manitoba communities – Brandon, Russell, Swan Lake, Pine Creek, Dauphin, and Waywayseecappo.

"The program has seen unprecedented success over the past three years," said Ben Welsh, Credential Program Coordinator at Assiniboine. "By providing youth with the essential employability skills they need to succeed, we've helped open up opportunities they might not have otherwise had."

The program is intended for individuals aged 15 to 30 with little or no significant work experience and who may not have completed their high school education. It focuses on skills for success and is tailored to each student's educational, career, and personal goals. Following their training, graduates of the program will be better prepared for employment or to complete further education, such as a high school diploma.

"We assist each student in creating a personal work plan for employment or further education and inform them of the opportunities available in the local labour market," said Welsh. "A key component of the program is building confidence and self-determination in one's future."

The program is offered at no cost to those accepted into it. Students of the program will be paid provincial minimum wage throughout their training and receive living allowance support to cover costs like childcare and transportation.

“The program helped me gain a ton of knowledge and valuable skills,” said Wynona Guiboche, when she was a student of the program in fall 2021. “I truly enjoyed the program and encourage anyone looking to gain employment skills to take it.”

Classes are held five full days a week for the first four weeks, with curriculum modules focusing on a variety of topics, including essential skills, employability skills, career exploration and decision-making. Students will also earn certification and complete workshops in a wide range of practice areas such as food safety, first aid, basic keyboarding and workplace hazardous materials.

Following the in-class training, students complete a seven-week work placement, with the program wrapping up by the end of March.

Upon completion of the program, students receive a certificate of achievement.

For more information about the program or upcoming information sessions, visit