Program offers young people work experience with BC Parks, Conservation Officer Service

YOUNG people interested in environmental management and conservation will have opportunities to gain experience, skills and training through a new government program that offers employment with BC Parks and the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS).

“These new positions give young people an opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience in the natural environment protection sector and reflect our commitment to an inclusive and diverse workforce,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Creating job opportunities now and providing building blocks for future careers are our priorities as we build back a better and more secure future for young British Columbians, whose jobs have been hardest hit by COVID-19. We all benefit from enhancements to BC Parks and stewardship of our natural environment.”

The $1.8-million Youth Employment Program (YEP) offers employment opportunities for young people through the fall and winter months. With direct mentoring from experienced park rangers and conservation officers, the successful candidates will develop skills and experiences that can help them succeed if they pursue a career in the field. The program will focus on diversity and inclusion, aiming to hire Indigenous youth and other young people from under-represented groups who may face employment barriers.

The duties will range from public outreach and education, facility and trail maintenance, to invasive species removal and supporting conservation and recreation projects. Some applicants will also have opportunities to undertake project work in Smithers and with the Provincial Services Branch in Victoria, which will contribute to research, communications, program development and policy work.

“More boots on the ground will help ensure nature is safeguarded and that British Columbians can continue to enjoy outdoor places that are becoming increasingly popular destinations to visit,” said Bruce Passmore, Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – British Columbia. “We applaud this new initiative to hire young people into conservation jobs as part of B.C.’s economic recovery.”

BC Parks will have 25 new YEP positions and the COS will have 18. COS will initially use an existing list of candidates, with a second phase of hiring later in August, if necessary. BC Parks positions will be available on the B.C. government employment opportunities page by mid-August 2020. This will allow people considering their options for returning to school the chance to spend up to four months gaining practical skills they can use towards a possible career in the field of environmental stewardship.