submitted by Lily Reaman, Clean Foundation
Fifteen Island youth received a hands-on introduction to the clean economy this past summer when Clean Foundation piloted the Clean Leadership Summer Internship Program on PEI. Now there are plans to run the program again in 2024.
Clean Foundation is a climate change, program delivery, non-profit that helps communities make real progress toward a cleaner future by taking on climate change challenges. Specialized teams work on complex problems, delivering clean projects and programming for communities.
In the summer of 2023, through funding support from SkillsPEI and the Office of Net Zero (Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action), the interns—known as Clean Leaders—took part in paid, meaningful employment opportunities within the growing clean economy sector on PEI.
Clean Leaders Summer Internships provide youth aged 15 to 30 with hands-on work experience and a chance to build their skills and confidence. Emphasis is put on providing mentorship, developing leadership skills, offering opportunities for networking, and helping with career exploration.
Placements on the Island were established in both rural and urban settings, allowing interns to impact their local communities in meaningful ways. While this is the first time the program has been offered on PEI, it has been in Nova Scotia for 12 years.
“We were excited to be able to work with SkillsPEI and the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action to offer this valuable program to both PEI employers and youth this past summer,” says Ramona Doyle, Vice President, Program Development with Clean Foundation.
“Employment demands for the clean economy sector continue to grow here on the Island. Having employers host Clean Leaders is just one way we can help build the skills and knowledge needed to meet those demands.”
“The Clean Leadership Summer Internship Program is a great opportunity for people to get a start in their field of interest,” says Jillian MacMillian, an intern who worked as a Wetland Restoration Technician for Southeast Environmental Association in Montague. “It gives people a chance to meet experts and organizations and make important connections that will help them reach further milestones in their career.”
Ten organizations across PEI hosted Clean Leaders and were impressed with the skills and knowledge the youth brought to their roles. Interns took on positions such as wetland and stream restoration, invasive species monitoring, field and wildlife conservation, policy research, environmental education, and more.
“The Clean Leadership program provided our project with inspired and capable youth,” says Gary Schneider, with the Environmental Coalition of PEI-MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, of the interns his organization hosted this past summer.
“They brought enthusiasm and worked hard to help us achieve our goals as an organization. Clean Foundation takes an active role in encouraging and supporting their interns and we are very thankful for their support.”
Clean Leaders took part in nine- or 15-week internship placements which also included a professional skills development conference held in-person in Nova Scotia and virtually. At the end of their work terms, each intern made a presentation about their summer work project and experience to other Clean Leaders and their employers.
“Last year was a pilot year for the program,” says Ramona. “The program was a huge success for everyone—especially our interns, employers, and funders.”
Clean Leadership Summer Internship Program fast facts:
- Supports youth ages 15 to 30 to access meaningful summer employment by providing wage subsidies that offer a livable wage.
- Supports PEI employers (government, not-for-profit and businesses) with wage subsidies to hire summer student positions to support their goals in the clean economy.
- Offers an in-depth mentorship program that engages and educates Island youth on the opportunities that are available in the PEI clean energy sector.
- Connects interns with industry professionals who could help them explore career options, develop skills, achieve education goals, and establish a professional network.
- Inspires youth to consider a clean economy career path via meaningful work placements, which will nurture an interest in local jobs that support a low-carbon economy and a sustainable environment.
Funded by the Department of Workforce, Advanced Learning and Population through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Agreements.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about the Clean Leadership Summer Internship Program, contact Lily Reaman, PEI Manager of Engagement & Workforce Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org
ZOOM INFO SESSIONS for potential employers will be hosted on January 30 at 9:00 am and on February 5 at 1:00 pm.
Clean Leaders – Employer Information Zoom Session – January 30, 9:00 am
Register in advance for this meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAkcO-sqz4sE9GwXFY6lFUUgpG3SN9hVdvv
Clean Leaders – Employer Information Zoom Session – February 5, 1:00 pm
Register in advance for this meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUucOqtpzgpH9J4nHdxnE8T6Iku-EMzNsSL