Bootstraps – Social Enterprise Employment Trainer

Aunt Leah’s Place is a non-profit organization that helps prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless and mothers in need from losing custody of their children. To support youth on their journey to self-sufficiency, we provide supported housing, job training, and coaching on essential life skills.

If you are passionate about social enterprise and helping youth build on-the-job skills, Aunt Leah’s has an opportunity for you! You’ll get to work in Aunt Leah’s Urban Thrift Store, and our seasonal Christmas Tree Lot fundraiser and train youth in and from care in a hands-on environment.

Are you someone who has an eye for quality pre-loved items and is savvy with selling items online?

Would you enjoy sharing your skills and teaching others? Bring your creativity and energy and be a part of our Bootstraps employment program.

Job Summary:  This position works as one of the onsite job trainers for youth in and from foster care. Onsite job training is provided at Aunt Leah’s Social Enterprises which are Aunt Leah’s Urban Thrift Store, Donation Centre/Warehouse and Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lots.   

The Bootstraps Project refers to the absurdly impossible action of “pulling oneself over a fence by one’s bootstraps”.  In today’s economy, most young people get their first few jobs through connections —relatives, teachers, coaches, friends and parents of friends; yet foster children experience the transiency of a foster care system where, by age 18, they experience on average, 9 different residential placements and 7 different schools.  Young people from foster care can come from familial situations of dysfunction, developmental disruption and neglect and/or abuse.  Some youth from foster care are often denied these essential social connections that allow for labour force integration.  The Bootstraps Project aims to fill this gap.

Reports To:  Social Enterprise Lead


Education & Qualifications:

  • Minimum 1-year post-secondary education in a relevant field of study
  • Experience in career development, social work, employee mentoring/ coaching and/or youth engagement is considered an valuable asset
  • Experience in providing hands on training in a retail environment



  • Criminal Record Check with Police Information Check from local RCMP
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends
  • First Aid, or willingness to obtain
  • Non Violent Crisis Intervention, or willingness to obtain



  • Experience as Assistant Manager/3rd key in a retail store
  • Thrift store experience, or other social enterprise experience
  • Good eye for items that will sell
  • Experience with online sales platforms
  • Skilled with a camera
  • Photo editing abilities
  • Driver’s licence, clean driver’s abstract


Key Duties and Responsibilities:

Essential Functions:

  • Help youth from foster care overcome barriers to employment and provide valuable work experience
  • Provide a safe and supportive experiential training at Aunt Leah’s Social Enterprises that provides life skill training (communication skills, preparing emotionally for a shift, appearance, professionalism) as well as hard skill training (cash handling skills, merchandising, customer service, donor relations, photographing items and developing appealing descriptions for online sales, managing online sales platform)
  • Help youth from foster care develop a broad range of skills and knowledge including the retail and warehouse industry –soft skills development, creating healthy networks and connections and participating sustainably in the labour market 
  • Coordinate with Aunt Leah’s Social Enterprises (Aunt Leah’s Urban Thrift Store, Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lots, and Aunt Leah’s Donation Centre Warehouse) to develop a Youth Training Program to enhance employability skills both online and in person
  • Provide essential skills development and work experience opportunities
    • Help incorporate appropriate and targeted essential skills development through the core modes of Reading, Writing, Document Use, Numeracy, Computer Use, Thinking, Oral Communication, Working with Others, and Continuous Learning
  • Ensure that Essential Skills programming and curriculum is appropriate and trauma informed for both at-risk youth and Indigenous youth


Youth from foster care come from a place where, in general, class-based learning interventions have been a failure. This socially innovative learning environment gives opportunities for tactile and ‘doing’ learning to set up these young people for future success and successful bridging to labour markets and/or future schooling. Therefore; implement innovative approaches for this proposed project through:

  • Providing multiple opportunities for different individual learning styles to develop essential employment skills
  • Offering a portion of their learning in a non-class based venue
  • Adhere to all program and agency policies and procedures
  • Work as a positive and cooperative team member, attend meetings and participate in Society committees and events as required and /or directed.


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities (KSA):

  • Ability to act, engage and support youth through a trauma informed lens, or be willing to learn.
  • Ability to embrace a strengths based approach  
  • Ability to work collaboratively with the Bootstraps Team in order to incorporate employment and lifeskills development for youth from foster care
  • Ability to identify barriers to employment and appropriately address them
  • Ability to work closely with youth to facilitate sustainable employment, training and/or education
  • Ability to set youth candidates up for success by providing transportation supports, work appropriate clothing and other employment supports as applicable
  • Ability to work in partnership with Aunt Leah’s Social Enterprises to give ‘hands on’ and virtual teaching in: Health & Safety, Respecting Diversity, Customer Service, Sales Techniques, Computer Office Software Applications, Time Management, Communication Skills, Leadership, Teamwork, Networking, Advertising, Promotion, Store and Window Displays, Merchandising, Opening and Closing Procedures, Stocking, Warehousing, Pricing, Inventory, and Cash Handling (Register, Debit/Credit Card Processing), Loss Prevention, Budgeting and Financial Literacy
  • Ability to develop and deliver engaging workshops through online platforms
  • Ability to work collaboratively with the Bootstraps Coordinator and other Aunt Leah’s staff to incorporate and facilitate youth to access employment opportunities and training opportunities.
  • Ability to refer to applicable Aunt Leah’s wrap-around supports ensuring participant youth are given the stability of housing, food security and social/emotional outreach.
  • Excellent customer service and retail skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Proficiency with Microsoft office suite
  • Work as a positive and cooperative team member, attend meetings and participate in Society committees and events as required and /or directed.
  • You are passionate about the Organization’s mission and understand the current and historical context of the child welfare system in relation to colonization.


Working Conditions:

  • This position requires working in Aunt Leah’s Social Enterprises (Aunt Leah’s Thrift Store and Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lots).
  • This position requires working alongside participants to provide excellent customer service to the customers at Aunt Leah’s Social Enterprises (Tree Lots, Thrift Store and Donations centre/warehouse)
  • Full time regular position – 40 hours per (8 hours a day, Tuesday to Saturday) but will be available and flexible to work a variety of shifts including days, evenings, and weekends as needed. The schedule may change based on operational needs.
  • Regular work shifts will be at Aunt Leah’s Donation Center, Thrift Store, Vancouver office, and seasonal Christmas Tree Lots.
  • This position is primarily based in Vancouver, with some need to travel to various locations within Metro Vancouver
  • Might require some remote work from a home office


COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: As of January 4, 2022, Aunt Leah’s Place has implemented a COVID-19 Vaccination policy. Aunt Leah’s Place strongly encourages all employees to be fully vaccinated (2 doses) for COVID-19. Rather than a mandatory vaccine policy, we are implementing a voluntary disclosure of vaccination. Employees will fill out a “voluntary disclosure” form indicating their vaccination status. Employees that do not wish to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status will be considered unvaccinated for operational planning purposes. The voluntary disclosure form will be included in the hiring process.

We offer: A comprehensive benefits package that includes: dental, extended health care including vision care and prescription, RRSP matching, generous vacation, and personal time package, and an employee discount at our Thrift Store.

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications

To apply: Please send your resume and cover letter with salary expectation, quoting Social Enterprise Employment Trainer in the subject line, to [email protected] Short listed candidates will be contacted for interviews. Thank you for your interest in joining Aunt Leah’s Independent Life Skills Society!

We encourage qualified people of all gender expressions and identities, sexual orientations, visible minorities, Indigenous persons, and persons with disabilities to apply if you are interested in supporting our mission and mandate and like what we have to offer.



Every dollar counts

Your support helps kids in foster care and young mothers
achieve a better future.