The College of New Caledonia have applied for funding for a 12-week course which aims to give updated skills and development training to older workers.
The program has run twice before in Vanderhoof in 2009 and 2010 and is targeted for people between the age of 55 and 64.
Participants in the community go through an intensive 12 weeks of job training to help them change careers and make them more employable.
Training on the course includes occupational first aid, staff management, conflict resolution, time management, a week of cashier training, basic book keeping, stress management, food safe training and computer training, to name a few.
As a result of the success of the first two programs, CNC have applied for funding to deliver a further six programs – two in Vanderhoof, two in Fraser Lake and two in Fort St. James. Funding for the program comes froPm the federal government and it allows participants to be paid while taking the course.
“Several of the people who have graduated have all had very positive outcomes,” said Val Erickson a project planner at the College of New Caledonia.
Participant Maryann Bolen took the course last year because she wanted to change careers.
“I had been doing a lot of hard physical work and my body was telling me it was time to change direction so I did the course to help me figure out what direction I could go that would be less physical,” said Bolen.
Bolen says she now works as a cashier and her training with the older worker program has really helped her succeed in her new role.
Past participant Douglas Rawn, who was 63 when he enrolled, said he took the course because he knew it was something that would help him in the future.
“IP just like to keep doing things to better myself…and they offered the management course which is something I’ve wanted to do all my life.
“It teaches you how to see different problems and how to treat people – I was always bad at that, as far as being a people person – I would jump to conclusions and then I was always in a big argument or a fight…but the course showed me how to counter-act those situations,” he said.
Rawn says he hopes to run a motel in the future and if that happens he will be able to utilize a lot of the skills he learnt on the course.
Participant Delores William says the course taught her to use a computer for the first time in her life and she is now actively seeking work.
Colin Barnard has run his own business for most of his life doing seasonal fisheries contract work. In 2009 work had slowed down and so he decided to enroll in the program.
“Because of the way things are changing in the workplace – the old skills aren’t always going to get you through,” he said.
“I figured at that point in time that it was probably going to be a good thing to upgrade the interview skills, writing skills and whatever else was being offered in the course,” he said.
Pending funding approval, the next program in Vanderhoof will run in April this year.
(Thanks to participants Jill Fuller and Carolyn Fawcett who also provided useful insights into how the program helped them.)