Training incentives foster business health
By Jenn Watt
Published Nov. 29, 2016
Repairing large camera supports – tripods, pan and tilt heads for movie cameras – requires specialized skills not typically found in the job pool of Haliburton County. But business owner Ian Johnson has been successfully hiring local applicants for years with the assistance of several incentives offered through provincial and federal government programs.
IJES Camera Support Systems takes in shipments of all kinds of broken equipment, deciphering the ailment and applying the fix necessary. Finding employees who know these skills is difficult, but using grants through Fleming CREW, the process has been made easier.
“Initially, I needed to find staff and that seemed like the obvious place,” says Johnson, sitting at a small table in his shop as one of his recent hires, Markus Tuomi, works at a workbench behind him. “While I was dealing with them, they suggested they had various incentives that could help out with training and so forth.”
He was able to access training incentives for employees, tool allowances and the Canada Ontario Jobs Grant for specific training in computer programs for staff.
“I got a fairly healthy training grant for Markus. There’s a long learning curve with this equipment,” he says.
Tuomi, who lives in Irondale, has been working at IJES for the last three months and is currently a trainee technician. “I wasn’t expecting something like this here,” says Tuomi of the nature of the job.
Employment and training consultant Shanthi Bascombe says her office has plenty of grant funding available for local employers who need help with training employees.
“Through Employment Services, which is funded by Employment Ontario, there are a couple of programs that are targeted to employers,” she says. Training incentives are available for those looking to hire an individual who may have the potential to do well, but isn’t quite up to speed.
“How much money they [the employer] get is dependent on the person they are hiring, so it’s about that person and what their background is and how much of a skill gap there is between what that person has and what the employer needs in the job,” she says.
Training incentives help offset costs such as productivity loss and training materials.
Bascombe is also enthusiastic about the Canada Ontario Job Grant that gives employers access to training dollars for new and existing employees.
The employer chooses who to train and what to train the employee in. Up to $10,000 per employee is available through the program to fund two-thirds of the training. For employers with fewer than 50 employees, the grant allows that half of their portion of the fee can be the wages they paid the employees during training.
“Really, the employer is only paying one-sixth,” Bascombe says.
“We want to get the word out. We want to spread it around the county,” she says.
This grant money allows employers to think creatively about how to improve their workforce and assist their workers in advancing their skills.
Other funding programs include Youth Job Link, which gives $300 to employers who hire a high school age student who has never worked before; Skills Link, a program that offers in-class work followed by a 12-week work placement in the community with 80 per cent of the worker’s wages funded; and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, which provides training incentives to help older people integrate into the workforce.
If it all sounds complicated, Bascombe says it can be made simple.
“It’s hard to remember all the programs and all the pieces, but that’s what we’re here to do,” she says. “We will walk you through every piece of the process every step of the way starting with the application.”
Johnson says Fleming CREW was “a great help” to him.
“Financially, of course, it would have been harder [without the grants] because more money would have come out of my pocket and it’s been great. Obviously, when the new person starts, they need a lot of training [and] that’s expensive. Not only does it slow me down, but production gets slowed down in general” he says.
Fleming CREW also offers a job posting service both in the office and online and provides interview and resume screening space. For more information about what they provide, go to flemingcrew.ca or call 705-457-2020.