Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, Jonathan Wilkinson, has announced $38.2 million to create 1,297 paid youth internship opportunities in the environmental and clean technology sectors.

“By creating 1,297 internships in the environmental and clean technology sectors, we are helping young Canadians, who were among those hardest hit during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, find good jobs,” said Wilkinson. “As someone who used to work in the clean technology sector, I know how important these opportunities are to building a cleaner, healthier future for generations to come.”

This additional funding will allow the government to create almost 400 additional internship opportunities compared to previous years. These internships will be offered in collaboration with environmental science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employers across Canada for six- to twelve-month projects.

This year’s intake for the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program is now open for youth and employers to apply. The program provides financial aid to eligible employers across Canada to hire recent post-secondary graduates. Employers can get up to $25,000 in funding for wage subsidies and up to $5,000 for skills development, training, and other job supports for each intern they hire.

“The government of Canada is building connections between Canadian businesses and young talent to ensure an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and create meaningful job and career opportunities for thousands of young people,” said Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment, workforce development, and disability inclusion. “The Science Horizons Internship Program is a great example of how we are delivering on setting up young Canadians for success while contributing to a cleaner economy. When we make skills-building and job opportunities available to young Canadians, we all succeed.”

The internships will provide recipients with the opportunity to acquire hands on experience and develop skills they need to secure and maintain a job or to pursue further study. Specific opportunities are available for Indigenous peoples, members of visible minority groups, women, persons with disabilities, and more.

The announcement was made in partnership with Regenerative Waste Labs, which provides scientific testing that helps businesses assess the environmental impact of their products and reduce their waste. In 2020, Regenerative Waste Labs received $15,000 in funding to hire an intern under the Science Horizons program.

“Regenerative Waste Labs provides integral services that support sustainable production and consumption to enable the circular economy through biomaterial testing, consulting, and product development,” said Dr. Love-Ese Chile, co-owner and technical director at Regenerative Waste Labs. “Launching a start-up business in January 2020 had its challenges, but the Science Horizons Internship Program allowed us to recruit a talented intern who was motivated to apply their skills to sustainable innovations. This opportunity brought creative solutions and fresh perspectives into our organization and has been pivotal to our continued growth.”

Minister Wilkinson also launched applications for Environment and Climate Change Canada’s first-ever Youth Council, which will engage young Canadians aged eighteen to twenty-five in the key environmental challenges of our time.

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