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PLT Canada launches 2021 Green Mentor Cohort


February 5, 2021
By PLT Canada

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From L to R: Ben Siebert with colleagues Ben Kavanagh, Braya Quilty and Marisa Bischoff. Photo courtesy PLT Canada.

Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada) recently launched its Green Mentor Program – 2021 National Cohort in celebration of National Mentoring Month.

In the next decade, one-third of the forest sector’s workforce is set to retire. Mentorship can help inspire and recruit the next generation of forest and conservation leaders.

“Young people are our future. PLT Canada is committed to supporting them along their green career pathways and mentorship is an important way we can serve the next generation of forest and conservation leaders. We are proud to be helping youth overcome barriers and find employment success,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO, PLT Canada.

The 2021 National Cohort brings together 150 people across Canada to empower, connect, and help young people develop their career pathways, build skills and confidence, grow their networks, and more.

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PLT Canada’s Green Mentor Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. The funding helps the organization to support youth—including those in rural, Indigenous, and urban communities and newcomers—pursue their green career pathways.

“Now more than ever we need to create opportunities for young Canadians to gain valuable skills and experience in the workforce. Young people are facing unprecedented challenges in job placements, studies and internships. Partners like Project Learning Tree create opportunities for youth to gain meaningful work experience in building a greener environment and economy. By encouraging youth to get involved with green jobs, we are helping build a diverse, qualified labour pool and create a green economy that benefits all Canadians,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

After a successful pilot program with 50 mentors and mentees, PLT Canada’s Green Mentor Program grew to 150 participants to meet the high demand for spots and launched on Jan. 7, 2021.

The six-month mentorship program connects young people aged 18-30 with Green Jobs professionals. Mentees and mentors are matched with an industry-leading algorithm. Mentorship is mutually beneficial, as mentees can expand their Green Jobs knowledge, goals, and network, while mentors can recruit potential employees, gain new perspectives, and inspire the next generation of leaders.

“PLT Canada’s mentorship program is one of the things that gives me hope about how the forest sector will grow in the future. We need more young people like [my mentee] to help move things forward. We also need young people to see what modern, sustainable forestry is all about so they can see themselves in a green career,” said Ken Price, member of the K’ómoks First Nation and Partnerships Coordinator for Mosaic Forest Management, which is certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s Forest Management Standard.

PLT Canada is excited by the interest in the Green Mentor Program and hopes to continue growing to help more young people build their careers and overcome barriers. Thanks to funding from Employment and Social Development Canada, PLT Canada’s Green Mentor Program will have helped at least 100 youth by 2022.