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Sunday, September 24, 2023
Youth Collective’s new program exploring career opportunities in NOTL
Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa, left, with Caroline Polgrabia from the NOTL Youth Collective and Alana Hurov from 124 on Queen Hotel and Spa. Polgrabia accepts a cheque from Hurov and will put the funds towards the new program. (Supplied)

Young people in Niagara-on-the-Lake will soon have the chance to see what their professional lives could look like if they stay in town.

The NOTL Youth Collective’s new program “Careers in NOTL” will connect youth with different businesses in town by taking them on guided, behind-the-scenes tours and showing them what employment there may look like. 

To kick it off, youth will be heading to the Shaw Festival Theatre this Sunday, June 4 to see what goes into a live theatre performance and what jobs are available in the field. 

“We are constantly looking for ways to build awareness of the multitude of career paths that are available in the live theatre ecology,” said Tim Jennings, the Shaw Festival’s executive director, in a press release. 

He said this will be a great opportunity to introduce young people to behind-the-scenes theatre jobs helping with sound and lighting, box office sales, costume design and set building.

“That’s really the goal, I think, is to help them understand and see, you know, physically see all those jobs behind the curtain,” said Caroline Polgrabia, the Youth Collective’s planning committee chair.

The new program is possible because of Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa, who picked the NOTL Youth Collective to receive the proceeds from his speaker series at 124 on Queen Hotel and Spa in March. 

124 on Queen Hotel and Spa will host youth in the fall to give them a taste of the hospitality industry. 

In addition to hospitality and live theatre, the program will explore career opportunities in industries such as sustainable and renewable energy, tourism and aerospace. 

“We see lots of opportunities to showcase the depth and breadth of all the different industries that make up the tourism industry,” said Polgrabia. 

She’d also like to introduce the kids to different parts of the agricultural industry.

“We want to be able to show them all the different productions,” she said, such as the difference between pepper farm hydroponics, tender fruit trees and grape vineyards.

The program is geared towards youth in grades 7 and 8, but Polgrabia said high school students are more than welcome to join. 

After the first “Careers in NOTL” tour on Sunday, the next one might not be until the fall, said Polgrabia, since many families go away on vacation in the summer.

Anyone interested in the programs offered at the NOTL Youth Collective is encouraged to register online at Notlyouth.com.  

Those registered will be the first to find out about new programs the collective is offering.

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