A group of Okanagan residents will be trained and ready to work in the region’s child-care sector thanks to a $123,000 B.C. government-funded Project Based Labour Market Training program.
The YMCA of Okanagan is receiving the funding to put up to 12 people through 23 weeks of classroom and on-the-job training in partnership with the Okanagan Boys & Girls Club and Sprott Shaw College. Once complete, they will be educated as early childhood educator assistants and once certified, will be eligible to work as an assistant with children aged 12 years and under.
“The YMCA of Okanagan is uniquely positioned to deliver this program as we have been helping people find meaningful employment for over 20 years and have delivered child-care services for over 30 years in the Okanagan,” said Joni Metherell, board president, YMCA Okanagan. “We are grateful for the ministry’s support to address a labour market challenge for the need for more child-care workers and pleased to have worked with other child-care service providers to deliver this training and provide employment opportunities locally.”
Government is funding the project with a goal to increase employment outcomes for EI-eligible job-seekers while helping fill a labour gap for the child-care sector in the Okanagan.
Throughout the project, participants are trained to work with children by learning proper communication skills and health, safety and nutritional knowledge, as well as risk management practices. They also learn career and job search skills to go along with training in theories of care and child-care centre operations before beginning a six-week job placement to put their new skills to work. Two weeks of follow-up support then gives participants guidance in finding full-time work in the industry.
The project builds on an announcement in June 2016 that saw $989,000 of government funding invested into the Kelowna region for the creation of 205 new licensed child-care spaces.
“Through this program I have developed a better understanding of the contribution I can bring to children and the community,” said Aida Trozic, project participant. “I have learned how attractive it is to become an early childhood educator assistant, as well as how to address barriers and stay focused in achieving my goals to do what I love to do. For me it is a new pathway to my future.”
Funding for the project comes from the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Community and Employer Partnerships fund.
Project-Based Labour Market Training projects provide funding to organizations to assist with local projects that provide a combination of on and/or off the job employment training to eligible participants to help them obtain sustainable employment.
To date, more than 1,400 job seekers benefited from work experience and nearly 260 projects have been funded throughout the province.