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 Moncton’s Ladder-Up Specialty Lions Club 

 Know an unhappy young person who seems 

 adrift with no sense of direction or purpose? 

Ladder-Up serves anglophone, francophone, indigenous youth, and young new Canadians who are not in education employment or training (NEET). And we serve local employers who need their talents.


13.3% of New Brunswick youths (15-24) are NEETs. 16,000 young people! At least a further 30,000 NB youth are underemployed or misemployed in jobs unrelated to their education or interests [The Atlantic Canada NEET Research Report, April 2, 2020, ESDC]. Workers with high school or less have sustained nearly half of all COVID-related job losses in Canada.

“We don’t need everyone to go to university”


Public school curriculum is designed to prepare students for university. If we are honest, outcomes are considered second best, or worse, failures. But we do not need everyone to go to university. Far from it! Many students just do not thrive in traditional academic environments. They fail to see personal relevance in factoring polynomials or memorizing Shakespeare. Research in New Brunswick and elsewhere shows that only 30-35% of high school students are intellectually engaged in their studies. They enjoy friends, clubs, and sports, but less so academics. Most just do what they are told and try to live up to their teachers’ and parents’ expectations.


“The economic and human costs are staggering”


Almost everyone knows a young person who has failed to launch from school to fulfilling adulthood. The economic and human costs are staggering. Lost productivity, juvenile justice, prisons, social assistance, substance abuse, detox, rehab, mental health, broken families – add up to tens of millions of dollars each and every year, not to mention the pain, despair, and shame.


No correlation has ever been established between intelligence and quitting school. Most dropouts either feel like a fish out of water in school or are facing personal or family challenges beyond their capacity to cope. Most have the wherewithal to lead productive and fulfilling lives. They just need to believe they deserve a good life. Most of all, they need people who care enough to offer a helping hand and a ladder-up from failure to success.


“74% of job vacancies do not require a degree”


The Southeast Labour Force Strategy projects that employers will need to find just over 7,000 new workers to meet our area’s total worker requirements between now and 2024. Of these, 1800 will need a degree. The remaining 5200 will not. They will need high school, specific occupational training, community college, and/or an apprenticeship. Over 900 will require only on-job training.


NB universities graduate about 3,500 undergrads and 700 post-grads annually. They will graduate at least another 16,000 between now and 2024. A familiar quip is that as soon as students are handed their degree they head for the airport. Since we are producing more university graduates than this area needs, many leave or take jobs that do not require a degree, further disadvantaging those with less education.

“University grads leave but NEETs stay”


University grads leave but NEETs stay. And they become an anchor to prosperity for our region. Helping these young people climb out of depression, despair, and dependency – not to mention their parent’s basements or off the street - is key to assuring a more prosperous future for our region. It will not be easy. That is why our Ladder-Up Specialty Lions Club hopes to mobilize our whole community to make this a priority.



Ladder-Up is an 18-week hands-on, experiential learning program that builds the skills and character employers want while introducing career pathways that offer good incomes and lifestyles. The program is funded through multiple agencies and community partners. Our Lions Club members volunteer their time and expertise as mentors.

“Ladder-Up builds the skills and character employers want”


In classes of 12 students per certified journeyperson instructor, trainees learn safety and essential skills while sampling 15-20 trades including automotive restoration and service, truck, commercial trailer and transport, warehousing, carpentry, basic electrical, welding, metal fabrication, pipe trades, sheet metal, heavy equipment technician, and more. Graduates typically enter a full-time job with a local employer or return to high school or community college and/or apprenticeship.


For more information contact Ladder-Up Vice President Phil Jarvis at 506 961-8585,, or Skills Canada New Brunswick Executive Director Courtney Donovan at 506 476-1264,

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