Vital Signs report confirms need for youth employment, retention and attraction strategy in Nova Scotia
For Immediate Release
Halifax, N.S. – The latest Vital Signs® report from the Nova Scotia Community Foundation paints a bleak picture of the circumstances of Nova Scotia’s youth. Youth in Nova Scotia face the highest unemployment rates and third lowest earnings in Canada, while accumulating the second highest student debt-loads. These factors have led to a fourfold increase in youth out-migration in the past five years. In light of these findings, StudentsNS repeated its call for the government to outline a clear and meaningful strategy for youth success and reinvest $35 million in cuts to support for youth retention.
“In light of the facts facing young people in Nova Scotia, it’s unbelievable that our Provincial government has chosen to cut support for youth retention”, said StudentsNS President, James Patriquin. “We’re hoping this government will have a change of heart and prioritize helping young people stay and build meaningful lives in Nova Scotia.”
StudentsNS released a report in September highlighting the challenges facing students and youth in the workforce in Nova Scotia and recommending aggressive action from government and employers. StudentsNS also launched its Farewell to Nova Scotia campaign to draw attention to the Provincial government’s cuts to youth retention and the need for renewed support for youth.
“Students are investing in our future through post-secondary education, but that future must include employment that offers a return on our investment,” said Scott Byrne, StudentsNS VP College Affairs. “Students want to stay in Nova Scotia to work, but we’re pushed away by the shortage of good quality jobs we can find elsewhere.”
The Vital Signs® report also shows highly concerning trends in terms of youth wellness, especially related to hunger, obesity and mental health. One-in-five children live in households that sometimes have inadequate food, and at the same time the obesity rate among teens in Nova Scotia has doubled since 2007. One in five high-school students has considered suicide and almost one in ten has attempted it.
“What could be more worrying than statistics showing so many of our youth are facing poverty, poor health and unhappiness?” asked Patriquin. “Things simply have to change in Nova Scotia, this province is failing too many of its young people.”
StudentsNS is currently completing research on the social determinants of access to post-secondary education, including childhood poverty, and on student health services with a special focus on mental health. The reports will be released early in 2015.
Students Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy group that represents 37,794 Nova Scotia post-secondary students, including 86% of the university population. Our members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.
For more information or questions, please contact:
Jonathan Williams, Executive Director
James Patriquin, President
Scott Byrne, VP College Affairs