In a press release issued on January 19, 2018, The Community Sector of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that this coming summer would be the end of the road for the Student Work and Service Program (SWASP). The Federal Government of Canada has pulled funding, officially ending their 24 year run.

The program supplied post-secondary students with the opportunity to work with a variety of non-profit organizations within their respective communities.  It was through this opportunity that students were able to stick close to home for the summer, learning invaluable and transferable skills, while earning a wage and tuition voucher for their upcoming school year.

The loss of SWASP effectively ends an incredible chance students within the province had to gain experience – an essential to all new graduates.  Over the course of the last two decades, 11,000 students were able to take advantage of everything SWASP had to offer.

In a recent CBC article, a spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) confirmed that the current SWASP funding would be reallocated to Canada Summer Jobs, “to ensure more students in in Newfoundland and Labrador have the opportunity to expand their skills through paid summer employment.” CSJ is a similar program that spans nationwide, allowing secondary and post-secondary students various employment opportunities.

With the current economic climate being what it is within our province, programs such as SWASP and CSJ are crucial for post-secondary students.  Experience, combined with our educational achievements, supplies those entering the workforce with a slight advantage.

Tonya Roberts

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