Career advice, retraining funding available
Fleming CREW offering free session on working in the trades
By Jenn Watt
Those interested in finding employment in the trades are invited to come to a free session on Thursday, Nov. 26 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Haliburton Legion to hear from employers themselves about what is needed in the sector.
Andrew Brown of Greg Brown Construction will talk about labourer jobs and give advice on how labourers can find work beyond the busy summer season. Jerry Walker, former owner of Walker’s Heating and Cooling, will discuss HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). A trainer from Hi-Mark will talk about their program to become certified as an HVAC technician. Mike Iles of Curry Chevrolet will talk about what they look for in mechanics, and how to get an apprenticeship.
“We’re featuring things we found, here in the employment centre, there’s a call for and sometimes we can’t fill those spots,” says Kim Quigley, employment and training consultant with Fleming CREW Employment Centre.
Attendees can also learn about the Second Career program for laid-off workers.
“Depending on your situation as an individual, you might be eligible to have your education paid for through the Second Career program,” Quigley says.
The session is timed with the usual slow season in the Highlands when many seasonal workers are laid off. Quigley says some people might be considering changing careers in order to have year-round employment and that her office can help with that.
The session will include refreshments and a chance to chat after the program.
Fleming CREW is planning another similar event for January featuring health occupations.
“Sometimes people hear that there’s jobs in health care, but what are those jobs and how many of them are there in Haliburton specifically versus having to go to Peterborough?” said Shanthi Bascombe, employment and training consultant. “For each of those, what is the path to get there?”
Fleming CREW offers a variety of training programs, financial incentives and personal one-on-one help for job seekers and employers looking for workers.
One of those is the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program for unemployed or under employed people older than 55. (There are also a few seats available for those over 50.)
The program assists workers who may have been laid off and now need to change careers.
The group discusses the labour market, the hidden job market, they work on cover letters and resumes, provide CPR and first aid training and address the emotional side of looking for work later in life.
“We’ve observed that communication, computer basics, engagement with people and interpersonal skills [are needed] ... so we want to add some of that skills training into the workshop,” says Henriette Hoekstra, employment and training consultant.
While in the program, free training is offered to participants such as literacy, Smart Serve, basic accounting, Quick Books, etc.
Once the participants decide what their employment goal is, they discuss what training is needed to secure those jobs. If skills training is necessary, often funding is available to cover the cost as long as it is contained within 12 months of the program.
“We also get involved with placement incentives,” Hoekstra says. Training incentives, which can be accessed through Fleming CREW, subsidize the employee’s wages while he or she is trained on the job to compensate for lost productivity at the workplace while training is underway.
The older workers program includes eight weeks of sessions – three days a week for three hours a day. Because participants are unemployed or underemployed, there is funding available to assist them with expenses while in the program. Fleming CREW can also help with transportation costs to and from the sessions.
“Because those shouldn’t be the barriers and in this county, of course, just getting here can be an issue,” Quigley says.
The older workers program not only provides job skills, but also offers camaraderie.
“We’ve had TIOW since 2010 and the one thing consistently that we see is it also provides incredible peer support for people,” says Bascombe, “People most often don’t like the idea of coming to a group workshop environment. That sometimes feels scary to people. Lots of times when you’re in this age range you thought you’d be towards the end of your working life and perhaps ready to retire and the fact that that’s not the case – that you need to work for quite a long time – is sometimes hard to come to terms with.”
Fellow workers can bring hope and energy to one another and sometimes even job leads.
“It enhances and increases their confidence and self-esteem,” says Hoekstra.
Targeted Initiative for Older Workers workshops begins Jan. 12. If you want to hear more, you can attend a free information session at the employment centre from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on one of the following dates: Wednesday, Nov. 25; Thursday, Nov. 26; Tuesday, Dec. 1; Wednesday, Dec. 2; Thursday, Dec. 3. Call in advance to confirm your attendance 705-457-2020.