Competency Category:

13.4 – Work with Youth at Risk

Purpose & Context

Career Development Professionals (CDPs) reflect on their own values and beliefs and seek to understand those of their clients. CDPs challenge their own assumptions and avoid stereotypes that might negatively impact the well-being of the client and the outcomes of career development interventions.To prepare for working with youth at risk, CDPs develop an understanding of the challenges and barriers this client population faces and how this may impact expectations regarding work, education and training.

Effective Performance

Competent career development professionals must be able to:

  • P1. Identify challenges and barriers youth at risk may experience, for example:
    • Low-wage and low-skilled work
    • Poverty
    • Experience with child welfare services
    • Experience with the youth justice system
    • Lack of support system
    • Lack of work experience
    • Limited education
    • Homelessness or inadequate housing
    • Mental health issues, e.g. substance abuse
    • Lack of role models
    • Lack of permanent address
    • Financial pressures
    • Limited access to social programming due to age limits
    • Low self-esteem
    • Dysfunctional family dynamics
    • Bullying
  • P2. Identify documents, tools and resources to overcome potential barriers, for example:
    • Employment programs for at-risk youth, e.g. paid pre-employment training, job matching and paid job placements,
      mentorship opportunities, education and work transition support, entrepreneurship centres, youth centers
    • Data on trends, changes, gaps and emerging opportunities in labour market to identify future job opportunities,
      e.g. apprenticeship in the trades
    • Professional service providers specialized in delivery of services for this client population
  • P3. Reflect on how the career development approach may be tailored, for example:
    • Explain legal protections relevant to the client, e.g. Canadian Human Rights Act
    • Deliver training to support job search activities, e.g., résumé writing, employment interviews, life skills,
      literacy (digital, financial, numeracy, language)
    • Access to short-term work experience
    • Access to mentoring initiatives
    • Access to volunteer opportunities
    • Access to paid and unpaid apprenticeships, co-op placements and internships
    • Build networking opportunities
    • Increase employer awareness of programs and incentives to assist them in hiring youth
    • Communicate benefits gained by employers who hire youth
    • Communicate with respect to build trust
    • Use of informal, rather than formal, assessment tools

Knowledge & Understanding

Competent career development professionals must know and understand:

  • K1. Legislation impacting youth at risk, e.g. Canadian Human Rights Act
  • K2. Sources for tailored support for youth facing barriers
  • K3. Alternative service providers that may meet client needs exceeding CDP’s competency and capacity, e.g. community
    supports, emergency and transition housing
  • K4. Factors that create inequalities for youth, e.g. social systems, socio-economic factors
  • K5. Work development for youth at risk research, e.g. prevention research programs, policy driven research, theoretical
    perspectives and intervention approaches, evidence-based educational and employment focused programs

Contextual Variables

Competent career development professionals must be able to perform this competency in the following range of contexts:

Clients may present with mental and physical conditions that will require accessing specialized medical resources.

Glossary & Key References


Industry-specific terms contained in the standard defined here, where applicable.

Youth at risk: youth exposed to conditions that may impact their ability to successfully achieve educational and employment outcomes, e.g. homelessness, physical and emotional abuse or neglect, hostile school environment, alcohol and drug abuse, mental health issues.

Information Sources and Resources for Consideration

Shepard, Blythe C. & Mani, Priya A. Eds. Career Development Practice in Canada. Toronto: CERIC Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9811652-3-3.

Zunker, Vernon G. Career Counselling: A Holistic Approach 9th edition. Boston: Loose-leaf Edition, 2016. ISBN-10: 978-1-305-40106-8.

Context Rating Scales


Q: What is the consequence of a professional being unable to perform this skill according to the standard?

Moderate risk: CRITICAL


Q: How frequent and under what conditions is this skill performed?

Routinely, regular course of procedure

Level of Difficulty

Q: Under routine circumstances, how would you rate the level of difficulty in performing this skill?

Moderate difficulty or complexity

Time Required to Gain Proficiency

Q: What is the average length of time or number of repeated events that are minimally necessary for an individual to become proficient in performing the skill to the standard?

A competent career development professional requires a minimum of one year of experience with at least 40 different clients, representing a broad range of individuals, including youth at risk.


Practitioners typically perform this competency without supervision, and alone.


It is unlikely that this competency will automate.

Requisite Work Aids, Tools, Equipment or Materials


Career Development Professional Centre

Help us cultivate a community we all enjoy by reviewing and following the Code of Conduct.  

Our Purpose  

Thank you for being a part of the online CDPC social learning community. To ensure that all members have the best possible experience, we have a few ground rules that we ask everyone to adhere to. This code of conduct applies equally to every person in the community and is intended to foster an online space that is inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all. 

Community Rules 

Be welcoming 

We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. We aim to create and facilitate a community that promotes excellence and innovation in career and workforce development. Please extend respect to all members; we all come from different backgrounds and levels of knowledge and there is no such thing as a stupid question. 

Be respectful 

We won’t all agree all the time, but when we disagree don’t let those disagreements turn into personal attacks. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened will not be a productive one. Instead, when having discussions in the online community, create productive conversations around the content being presented, not the person behind the content. Any post that is determined to be “hate speech” towards any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation.  

Hate Speech could include and is not limited to:  

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person 
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A good rule of thumb is to never post anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with the world seeing or that you wouldn’t want anyone knowing came from you. We ask that you keep in mind the focus of this community, which is building excellence and innovation in career and workforce development for all individuals.  

Be considerate of the purpose of the community 

This community will be focused on building excellence and discussing innovation in the career and workforce development field. The goal of this community is to communicate goals, challenges, constructive feedback, and questions in relation to career and workforce development. The community should be a place for continued learning and development as well as a place to discuss the future of our field (solicitation without written consent by the Project or Advisory team, is strictly prohibited). Any post that is determined to be soliciting any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation. 

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Make reasonable efforts to ensure that posts and materials are allocated to the appropriate group or topic. This will prevent cluttering the community and make it easier for everyone to find the information that they are seeking. Individuals who do this repeatedly will be contacted by one of the group admins and asked to follow these guidelines.  

Privacy and Release of Information  

CDPC-CEDC will not release your information to any third-party agencies.  

Group Admins 

There are four group admins who are available to you. Below are their names and their spoken language. 

Heather Powell | Anglophone 

Gabrielle St-Cyr | Francophone/Anglophone 

Florence Desrochers | Francophone/Anglophone

Muriel Andoblé-Yao | Francophone

Thank you and welcome to the CDPC Community!