Participants hope Sector Skills program is the key to finding jobs
© Frank Gale
John White, left, of St. George’s, and Shane Howell of Stephenville Crossing are students of the new Sector Skills program at College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville.
STEPHENVILLE — Fed up with only getting part-time work, John White of St. George’s is hoping the Sector Skills employment training program will land him full-time employment.
Offered by College of the North Atlantic in seven of its centres, White is one of 24 students taking the 12-week program in Stephenville.
“In my case there is lots of work, but just part-time work with fast-time money and no benefits,” White said. “I’m looking for something more permanent to give a stable environment.”
Three weeks into the program, White said he likes it and it’s refreshing to learn new skills and make new friends. He would like to find work locally but would be willing to move back to St. John’s if need be.
The program focuses on three sectors, including retail, food services and building maintenance. White is there for the food industry, but would also be open to building maintenance.
Shane Howell of Stephenville Crossing learned of the program through a friend and is focused on the retail sector as he said he could “sell ice to a polar bear.”
“It’s hard getting work around this area and I like this avenue and that it could provide me with a good opportunity to get full-time work,” Howell said. “I had a plan that didn’t work out and I’m now going this route and think it will work out.”
Howell said its enjoyable and he’s learning a lot of skills that he believes will help him out.
In addition to Stephenville, other College of the North Atlantic locations delivering the program include, St. John’s, Carbonear, Clarenville, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook.
The $1.5 million program, funded by the federal-provincial Labour Market Agreement, provides training and work experience to individuals to meet the province’s growing labour demand in a variety of sectors.
On Monday, minister of Advanced Education and Skills Joan Shea and Ann Marie Vaughan, president and chief executive officer of College of the North Atlantic, visited the Stephenville campus.
Shea told students the program was set up to fill a need in the province to help people go to work and to provide employers with employees.
“This training will provide you the skills to get a job and the confidence in the future to look for another job. Work experience never does you wrong,” she said, adding the program was designed with intense training so that students can do the program, do their work placements and move directly into the workforce.
Vaughan said the College of the North Atlantic is thrilled to be the education institution to deliver this program.
“I hope the work experience you get is going to be excellent and that you will give feedback on the program,” she told the students.
In Stephenville, Maureen Kennedy is instructor for the program and Ross Ryan is the workplace education co-ordinater with the college for the Sector Skills training program.
Eligibility for the training is to a person who is a permanent resident of Newfoundland and Labrador who is currently in receipt of income support or assessed as having a barrier to employment, has completed Grade 9 education or equivalent and has not completed any formal post-secondary education in the past five years.
Program graduates will receive a certificate of completion and certifications for Standard First Aid, Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHIMS) and Back Injury Prevention.
For further information on the Sector Skills training program and additional services provided by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills, visit www.aes.gov.nl.ca, call toll-free at 1-800-563-6600 or 1-866-729-4685, or visit the nearest employment centre.