In order to qualify for the Train for Trades program youth must be between the ages of 18 and 25. They must not have received Employment Insurance (EI) in the past three years and must not currently be EI eligible.

Unlike many programs, T4T wants to ensure that it is giving opportunities to at-risk youth, including those with mental health and addictions issues, criminal records, no high school education etc. While these barriers are not a must, a youth who is functioning well with few barriers will probably not be admitted to the program.

“You can be overqualified, if you’re currently working, if you’ve got your high school. If things are going well for you there’s no need for you to be in this support program. Generally the people who join are people who don’t have their high school, who are looking to get their GED. There are people who have it and still join Train for Trades because it’s something they need in their life. A friend of mine actually, he tried to join and he had a child (which is why he wanted to join) but he had a full-time job already and he had his high school. I mean he had everything working out for him so he was overqualified.” — Matthew, age 21, Tier 1 participant

The following provides a snapshot of the backgrounds of youth participants in Train for Trades. 

Backgrounds of T4T Participants

67% Unstable housing in family origin
66%   Reliving this unstable housing situation
62%  Repeat shelter use
66% Dropped out of school
72% Unemployed
75%  Criminal justice system involvement
62%  Substance abuse issue

Homeless Hub Thoughts:

The chart demonstrates that the commitment Train for Trades has to working with at-risk youth is more than just on the surface. The youth that take part in the program bring significant challenges with them, which require ongoing support and intervention.

A program that is going to target and welcome youth from these backgrounds needs to ensure that it has the proper support in place in terms of staffing levels/skills, staff and youth training and safety. Programs also need to figure out what outcomes they want to achieve with youth from such diverse backgrounds and how they will go about achieving them.