Rosa Blanco is passionate about helping make a difference in a child’s life, despite the low salary a child youth worker makes in Toronto.
The average wage for a Child Youth Worker in Canada is $17.14 per hour, according to payscale.com.
Nevertheless, Blanco, a second-year student in the Child and Youth Care degree program at Humber College at Lakeshore campus, isn’t deterred.
There are multiple job offers upon graduation and strong opportunities to gain work experience while in school during the four year program, said Katherine Sloss, program coordinator.
“An internship is offered in the third year and consists of over 700 hours. A placement field is 150 hours, which is divided throughout the first, second, and third year in the program,” Sloss said.
All jobs are a competition, she added, and the more educated students are, depending on the sector of choice, the easier it will be to land a job.
“We have a lot of students that are now graduating and they are already employed or they’re getting employed, they have lots of interviews,” she said.
Other students opt for graduate school after Humber, and there is a range of different pathways, Sloss explained.
Diverse experience is a key strength of the program. Students get the opportunity to work with young offenders, children with mental health issues, in family support programs, group homes, schools, foster care, private counseling and to work with educators from a post-secondary school, Blanco said.
“The majority of the students are confident to find a job after the program, however most of them pursue their masters degree and land a huge career,” she said.
Blanco said understanding, caring, flexibility and good listening skills are some of the qualities needed to succeed in this career.
“One thing to keep in mind in this field is that it’s important for students to be socially active as every youth and child will have different experiences, so it’s essential to meet them where they are at,” she said.
Applying everything learned in class and bringing those talents to the table is how a student learns to understand families, youths and children, she said.
“Humber offers students job placements but students can choose their own as long as it aligns with the program,” Blanco said.
“Students like working in all sectors of the program, but most prefer working with youths and families,” she said.
Working with families and youths is Blanco’s area of interest.
“Going into this program you have to have a passion for what you do, you have to genuinely care, (have) patience and flexibility in order to make a difference in a youth and child’s life,” she said.