by Ruby Arsenault
Shana Crockett is a farm labourer at Gaudet Farms near Tignish. She began working there in May of 2018 after completing the Stepping Stones To Success (SSTS) youth program. Shana grew up on a beef cattle farm and always dreamed of one day gaining full time employment in the field of agriculture.
“When I became unemployed, I saw an advertisement about the SSTS program, and immediately applied,” says Shana. “I had to participate in an interview process, and thankfully I was one of the six youth chosen.”
SSTS is a program designed to assist youth to overcome barriers to employment and to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to make a successful transition to the labour market or return to school. This 12-week program is held in Alberton.
Rural Community Learning Inc. has received funding for the past 18 years to deliver this program, and has assisted hundreds of youth to overcome their barriers to employment.
At the end of the program, Shana found a job posting for a permanent farm labourer, which was posted on the Tignish Employment Resource Centre’s Facebook page. “I felt I was well equipped to apply for the position, as the youth program helped me gain confidence in my abilities,” says Shana. “I contacted Gaudet Farms and began work the very next day.”
She is a committed employee who works seven days a week, milking, feeding, and caring for the cattle. “This is the part I enjoy the most,” says Shana. “I milk the cows twice a day at 7 am and 5:30 pm. I find it very relaxing when I am milking, and I love the contact with the cattle. I know each one and have learned to understand their behaviours.”
She also helps with planting potatoes and other crops in the spring and harvesting in the fall. “I operate farm equipment and work long hours. A short day during the summer heat would still be six to eight hours a day.
“I wouldn’t trade my career for anything else,” says Shana. “I certainly appreciated the direction from the SSTS program and the opportunity to work at Gaudet Farms.
Shana says her favorite part of the SSTS program was Rite of Passage Experience (R.O.P.E.S.). It offers participants an adventure experience that develops team work skills such as effective communication, problem solving, trust building, leadership, and cooperative learning. It is administered through The Adventure Group in Charlottetown.
“I would recommend the SSTS program to other youth. This program is excellent!”
For more information about the Stepping Stones To Success program, contact Sharon Horne, Executive Director, Rural Community Learning Inc., at 902-853-3715 or Maureen Chaisson, SSTS Youth Program Coordinator, at 902-853-3279.
For more about Tignish Employment Resource Centre, call 902-882-2498.
Funding for the SSTS program is under the Youth Employment Strategy – Skills Link program Service Canada, Department of Employment and Social Development Canada under the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.