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Dane Webster was on his own at the age of 17 and didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. He worked a few odd jobs until he was in his early twenties, but was struggling to find sustainable work that he enjoyed. He needed direction.

When Dane was referred to a YMCA youth employment program, he was grateful to find a supportive network that could help him find his way.

“The material they teach really spoke to me,” says Dane. “It was a lot of personal development. The assessments we did identified that I am both a planner and a builder.”

Dane now plans to pursue further training to become a Red Seal carpenter and open his own company. He has big dreams for his future and is eventually looking to pursue a career in aquaponics, providing a renewable resource for the Okanagan Valley.

With the national unemployment rate for youth sitting at 13 per cent — double the rate of the adult population — young people across the country are struggling to find sustainable employment. The Y’s youth employment programs are working hard to reduce this gap locally, giving our youth the skills, certifications, encouragement and connections to realize their full potential.

“I think more youth should go through the Y’s employment programs,” says Dane. “They really put more hope in my dreams.”