This summer, the Canada Summer Jobs wage subsidy helped two local students return home for the season. Affordable housing, the draw to visit home, and learning opportunities motivated Lilly Allen and Manuel Perdisa to apply for local jobs that were subsidized by the summer student program.

The students reflected on the experience with CKTZ as they were finishing up their contracts at the end of August. The two returned to the University of Victoria last week to continue their studies.

Allen and Perdisa are part of a larger generation of Cortes locals, a result of a “baby boom” that occurred 20 years ago. Like many island youth, they left Cortes to attend high school on Vancouver Island, since there was no high school on Cortes at the time. Returning to work for local non-profits was an opportunity for both students to return for an extended period of time, since leaving for school and university.

Allen worked for the Cortes Island Museum and Archives, which utilizes the subsidy to hire a host for the busy summer season. Allen noted the educational benefits of the job.

“I could learn about the local community that I grew up in and I’m slowly drifting away from. As I grow up and grow older and I’ve started to do more things with my life and I wanted to really reconnect a little bit.” 

Perdisa said homesickness contributed to his decision to return to Cortes.

“It’s nice to settle back into it, hang out with the family, see what’s changed.”

The professional experience for the young locals was the biggest takeaway.

“It’s been able to expose me to a lot of different aspects of working in the field of conservation and ecology,” Perdisa said. “I get to do conservation work, community engagement, but I also get to follow my interests in these broader topics.”

To hear more about the adventures of local summer student jobs on Cortes, listen to the CKTZ News Update below: