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Project Updates: February 2023

Updated: Mar 21, 2023


What have we been up to?

This month, we released our new project website, Here you’ll find our latest project updates, information about our project, team, and network, and links to resources and reports.


Our ESYD team presented at the ASPECT BC in-person conference on November 3, 2022. We received substantial feedback on the draft guiding principles and practices of the Strategy and built substantial network connections with organizations from around the province. We are grateful to Karen Blackman, Assistant Deputy Minister, Employment and Labour Market Services, who gave the ESYD Strategy a shout-out in front of all 250+ conference participants during her keynote address!

Sarah Molder presents at the ASPECT Conference with Emily Flegel and Rebecca Ipe.


We are hard at work finalizing the Strategy’s Best Practice Checklist, which will provide guidelines that service providers can reference to improve the impact of their new or existing youth employment services. The ESYD team has been getting feedback from different groups to refine the resource. The ASPECT conference and the Youth Employment Program Providers (YEPP) group in Victoria, BC have been vital sources of knowledge. In the coming weeks, we will be gathering feedback on the Checklist from our Youth Advisory Committee. We look forward to sharing the Best Practice Checklist with you shortly, once it is finalized.


Our team recruited for the Youth Advisory Committee in February. The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is a virtual committee. We are setting it up to ensure the ESYD and its associated resources meet the needs and priorities of youth. We have been exploring how best we can serve and work with this vulnerable population. We have undergone privacy assessments, set up emergency support protocols, and explored ways to make space for all participants. As part of our recruitment materials, we’ve created a Project Introduction Video, which explains the purpose of our project in plain language, and uses ASL interpretation. We look forward to welcoming the YAC participants later this month!

We recently published the Youth, Caregiver, and Focus Group reports In the Spring of 2022, the project team hosted focus groups of youth, caregiver, and service provider participants from across the province. You can read these reports and learn about our findings on our Publications + Reports page.


Learning spotlight: Youth survey data

In May of 2022, our project team released the Employment Strategy for Youth with Disabilities in BC: Youth Survey. The survey explored:

  • Gaps, barriers, and best practices in the current employment

  • impacts that COVID-19 had on these experiences.

There were 463 youth who completed the survey. All were between 15 and 30 and self-identified as having a disability (including mental health and substance use challenges). Here are some highlights from our findings:

  1. Over 2/3 (71%) of all respondents had never accessed employment programs. Most participants in the survey were unaware that this type of support was an option. Those who had accessed programs had mostly done so through community programs, rather than through their school.

  2. When asked about additional barriers to accessing employment programs, respondents identified the following top three themes:

    1. Difficulty Accessing Employment Programs

    2. Personal Capacity Posing Barriers to Program Access

    3. Lack of Knowledge of Employment Programs

  3. Respondents living in rural and remote regions had greater access to employment programs (40.4% of youth with disabilities had accessed programs) than those living in urban areas (26.5% of youth with disabilities had accessed programs).

  4. Respondents who self-identified as having substance use challenges and/or experience in the youth justice system were more likely to have accessed employment programs (when compared with other disability types and experiences).


Our team is growing

Over the past year, our team has expanded from three to six! In case you haven’t met all of us yet, here’s a reminder of who we are:

  • Sarah Molder, Team Lead (Pronouns: She/Her)

  • Rebecca Ipe, Project Coordinator (Pronouns: She/Her)

  • Emily Flegel, Project Coordinator (Pronouns: She/Her)

  • Sarah Grindlay, Content Writer (Pronouns: She/Her)

  • Laura Pringle, Project Assistant (Pronouns: She/Her)

  • Ameera Azam, Research Assistant (Pronouns: She/Her)

We look forward to working with you as we build the Strategy.


What's next?

  • Our ESYD team has finished analyzing the data from the Caregiver Surveys we conducted from May-July 2022. We are now hard at work writing the report. We’re also working on finishing several reports, including the Environmental Scan P1: Research Report and the Youth Survey Report. Once these are complete, they will be viewable on our Publications + Reports page.

  • We are currently building an interactive map of survey participation locations from across BC. We will be sharing this with you all on our website once it is available.

  • We’ll have more to share about the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). Stay tuned for more information on our website and social media!


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