By Breanne Massey
A group of adult students recently completed a 14-week program to enhance their employment skills through a collaborative learning approach that combines continuing studies, independent studies, volunteering and work placements.
There were 11 graduates from the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers Job Skills program at the College of the Rockies (COTR) Invermere campus on Friday, March 11th.
The transformation that we see in these folks and the skills that they hone in and put to practice is pretty inspiring, said Nicole Morgan, program co-ordinator and instructor at COTR.
Heather Underwood, a 53-year-old Invermere resident, completed the program to acquire skills that could help her find a less physically demanding job.
I was being laid off the golf course again because its seasonal work, which Ive done for a few years and I saw (the program) advertised and applied for it because it looked like a good opportunity for me to become educated, said Ms. Underwood. Ill be finishing (another) program for event co-ordination Ill be a certified event co-ordinator.
While she had made no formal plans yet following the completion of the course, Ms. Underwood is eager to explore prospective opportunities.
Thats the key to all of this, she explained. Its about self-worth and the journey that youre on. Ive got so much confidence from this course Im a breast cancer survivor and I cant serve tables any more, so the opportunity to work in an office could present itself. To have the training to do it has been just wonderful.
Ms. Morgan presented each graduating student with credentials such as the Computer Skills Certificate, Personal and Professional Development Certificate, the World Host Certificate (customer service skills) and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
In addition, theres an option for some graduates to receive continuing education certificates depending on which area each one pursues. Some examples of community placements in the program included positions in sales, golf, administration, catering, bookkeeping, insurance agent, landscaping and self-employment. It also focused on learning digital technology and employment skills, as well as personal and professional development that has been targeted for older workers.
Ms. Morgan added that this batch of mature students offered their efforts as a volunteer group for the Duelling Piano fundraising event to help raise money for the new Columbia Valley Centre and to lend a helping hand to the Groundswell Networks spring cleanup.