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    Youth labour force:

    Are we forgetting something?

Karla: Ate Daph, puwede bang magpatulong gumawa ng résumé? (Can you help me write my résumé?)
Daphne: Oo ba. Sa’n n’yo ba balak magtrabaho? (Of course. Where do you plan to apply?)
Dannica: Kahit saan po. (Anywhere.)
Daphne: Ilang taon na ba kayo? (How old are you?)
Karla and Dannica: 15 years old po.

Karla Emeterio arrived in Winnipeg in October 2007 while Dannica Franco arrived in June 2009. After having this conversation, I was astonished by the fact that these two girls, knowing that they are just 15 years old and they lived in Winnipeg for not more than two years, are looking for a summer job. When I asked them the reason why they wanted to apply for one, they told me that they want to be productive this summer. Now a question arose, is being productive the real reason why some immigrant Filipino youth yearn to consider new career opportunities? Or are they just fascinated by the new financial means Canada has to offer?

Tons of logical reasons for young job-hunters are placed on the table. As a matter of fact, some of these are influenced by the people surrounding them. Peers, as I may say, give encouragement to those who want to enter the labour force. Let’s use Karla and Dannica as an example. Once Dannica finds out that Karla works at a certain workplace, she will be encouraged, and more importantly, will be more confident to work at the same workplace. She will know that a friend will be there with her. This set-up is not rare, based on the experience that most of the people I know underwent the same situation. Moreover, once other work opportunities come their way, these young go-getters will not hesitate to back out of their current job for new better positions. Another good reason why young newcomers yearn to join the workforce is excitement. This may be because children under 18 years old can hardly find part time jobs in the Philippines. In Canada, there is no reason for them to not jump at the thought of this opportunity.

The job search means dreams of buying a new cell phone, I-pod, or even a laptop for some young people. Acquiring these material things through one’s own perspiration becomes the main objective for most because it instils a sense of self-pride and independence. One no longer needs to depend on parents for monetary assistance. It also teaches responsibility and the value of the money one earns. For instance, one can contribute at home by giving presents or pasalubong to their younger siblings, which is effective in making them closer to each other or, one could help contribute to the household income by paying some of the family’s monthly expenses.

I cannot deny the fact that there is much enthusiasm and happiness when these young folks receive their money come payday; because in reality, it lightens up their spirits for their hard work has paid off. I bet that they are giggling with exhilaration as they count their self-earned riches. They also express amusement or the “I can’t believe it” reaction once they realize that they are actually earning something. There is indeed a feeling of self-satisfaction when they can proudly tell themselves that at this young age they can do what their parents can and that is to earn a living. No objections are made that Canada can definitely provide the means that our young Filipino immigrants desire. However, this can still be debated.

Most of the youth workers tend to put their education on the back burner because they are gravitated to the monetary rewards and responsibilities their occupations can give. As a consequence, a number of these youth workers opt out of pursuing a college diploma or university dedgree. This issue is hardly accepted by most parents who consider education as their number one long-term investment. So in my opinion, working can teach someone how to be professional, enthusiastically responsible and independent. Of course we can use these as skills, but no matter how indulged we are with our working environment, we should always remember that the kind of work we have right now is only temporary. There are better and more exceptional jobs that may await us, that is, if we graduate with a certain degree of education. Furthermore, always keep in mind that employment competition is a constant in our economy that is becoming more and more demanding. Therefore, the majority of high-paying companies prefer to hire educated workers and not just educated graduates, but exceedingly qualified graduates. To conclude this matter, we should shape our future by relying on the fact that we are now in a much diversified and highly competitive world. So prioritize your education because education will bring us to a higher level.

I would like to thank my mom, Erlinda Jalique, for giving out exceptionally astounding ideas for this article.

Daphne Jalique is a member of ANAK.

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