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Youth Opportunities Unlimited Part 3: Skills Training Programs

Youth Opportunities Unlimited Part 3: Skills Training Programs

The next programs at YOU we will explore in this series are their social enterprises, which are businesses run with the intent of doing social good and any proceeds made are directed back into the programming of the organization. YOU has a total of 5 social enterprise businesses which include Mushed by YOU, YOU Made it Café, YOU Made it Catering, Mushed by YOU, and YOU Made it Recycling. 

Youth who take part in both our Training for Employment Success and Youth Job Connection workshops have the opportunity to join the skills training programs at our social enterprises. Having the chance to learn new skills and build the confidence to master those skills, gives youth placed in these real life work placements the experience they need to compete in the job market and gain a permanent job. Since YOU has a variety of social enterprises, youth are able to learn a wide range of skills like serving, customer service, cooking and kitchen skills, using woodshop machinery and knowledge of a manufacturing environment, food production skills and more.

One such youth, Avery, recently completed the skills training program and shared what it was like and the value of a program like this for young people.  

What skills training program did you take part in and what skills did you learn?  

I took part in the kitchen and resume building program at YOU. It was great because not only did I learn to build a proper resume, I also got to spend time learning how a working kitchen functioned.

Why did you want to take part in one of the skills training programs at Youth Opportunities Unlimited?

I wanted to take part in one of the skill training programs because although I had previous work experience I really wanted to see where I could improve and grow.

What was one of the challenges you had during your time in the skills training program? How did you overcome it? (or How are you overcoming it?)  

The program I took part in was helping make the "Mushed" jams and jellies and although much of the program was easy my math skills were tested. Calculating the measurements for the recipes did make it a fun task however.

What was your biggest accomplishment during your time in the skills training program?  

My biggest accomplishment was when the YOU programmers recognized my skill and love for photography then commissioning my skills for a YOU program photo set. 

What would you say to other youth who may be nervous about getting involved?

I would say there is nothing to lose and so much to gain; meeting and interacting with new people as well as gaining truly rewarding knowledge.  

Didn’t get a chance to read the other interviews with YOU?  Check out Part 1 and Part 2

If you are interested in supporting YOU’s social enterprises, head to to learn more. Although YOU is only located in London, Ontario, there are hundreds of social enterprises run by nonprofits across the province. The best way to support social enterprises is to purchase their goods or use their services. A full listing can be found at or check your local non profit organizations to see how you can get involved!

Video: Social enterprises