Applications open for first-ever Environment and Climate Change Youth Council, new green internship opportunities

Students interested in a greener future can ready their CVs for some new opportunities.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson announced the creation of new student internship opportunities in the environmental and clean technology sector, as well as the launch of the first-ever Environment and Climate Change Youth Council in a press conference last week.

Smells like green spirit

According to Wilkinson, the voices of young Canadians are “integral” as we face the “greatest challenge of our time”: climate change.

The Environment and Climate Change Youth Council, open to youth between the ages of 18 to 25, will be composed of ten students who will serve a two-year term. The position functions on a volunteer basis, with the council meeting every four months, with one annual in-person meeting. Students should expect to spend about five hours a month on activities related to their position.

Students on the council can hope to gain “skills and experience that will help start their careers, and connect with a network of like-minded young people,” according to the official website.

The deadline to apply is August 18, 2021 at midnight PST.

Applicants must be a member of an organization rooted in youth engagement and/or related to the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) mandate. These organizations can include non-profits, Indigenous boards, youth groups and more. Details can be found on the website.

Wilkinson said that the youth council’s activities will touch on a range of topics.

“These ten individuals who will comprise the youth council will help to shape Canada's key policies and priorities on the greatest challenge of our time, fighting climate change,” he said, “but also rapid biodiversity loss here in Canada and around the world, and issues relating to things like plastic pollution in our environment.”

All-aboard the internship

Wilkinson also announced a partnership with the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program for the creation of 1,297 new internships in the environment and clean technology sectors.

“Young Canadians want to be part of the transition and these internships will set them up for success by providing necessary skills, training and experience, all of the while, building a healthier and cleaner future,” he said.

The internships will last from six to twelve months and will allow students to develop “hands-on skills” and experience in STEM. Students can scope out the six delivery organizations partnered with the program to find their best fit on this website. Details about the application process are specific to the delivery organization.

The Science Horizons Youth Internship Program, Wilkinson explained, has been a successful resource for students in the past.

“Over the last 20 years Science Horizons has created 6,500 internships across the country with approximately 85 per cent of interns securing a full-time job or returning to school after the internship,” he said.

According to Wilkinson, the interest of youth in supporting young people is an essential part of moving toward a cleaner future.

“We need everybody on board: governments, private sector and certainly young people who are and should be always pushing their governments to do more,” he said. “By taking action and by supporting young people today we are looking to create a better future for tomorrow — one that can provide cleaner air or water and good jobs for generations to come.”