To the Editor,
Re: VIU’s co-op programs get funding boost, March 17.
While I am delighted to see that VIU will receive money, I am concerned about the ramifications of the co-op programs. I wonder, did the student wash windows, sweep floors, shred paper, clean bathrooms as part of her co-op at the winery? Isn’t that work that one should be paid for? Instead, these young people are paying for the privilege of being a intern with the hope that it may result in a job. What about kids who can’t afford to work for free?
At the end of the day, I understand that the objective is for young people to be gainfully employed, happy, healthy productive members of our society. As long as this happens, it doesn’t really matter how this end was achieved. Maybe this VIU co-op program will help with this. At least the university is perhaps taking a look at what happens to graduates in Nanaimo. The only real job opportunities here are in trades right now.
Personally, I’d like to see VIU help to position young people into being able to start their own local businesses. I see potential in computer coding and software design, for example.
The real issue here, I believe, is the cost of post-secondary education. Young people in our society start their lives with a huge albatross of debt. Just as the baby birds are ready to leave the nest, the school system which is supposed to be helping them, has in fact tied a rock around their neck. It’s not right. In other cultures this doesn’t happen. I truly believe we are doing young people a disservice.