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WMC training programs launched

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WMC by Richard Lipman
Richard Lipman is president of the Wood Manufacturing Council. For more info email rlipman@wmc-cfb.ca

Exciting new training programs are being launched in February and March creating opportunities for young people to join our industry.
As part of WMC’s mandate to plan, develop and implement human resources strategies that support the long-term growth and competitiveness of Canada’s advanced wood products manufacturing industry, we have created several training programs to meet the developmental needs of our workforce. One of these programs is the Wood Employee Readiness Curriculum (WERC), which was developed to attract prospective employees from a variety of diverse populations, including Youth, new Canadians, First Nation, Metis, Inuit, persons with disabilities etc. to train for entry-level positions in the advanced wood manufacturing sector.

Ontario
We are launching a 1-year project in the Greater Toronto Area, Durham, Six Nations First Nation, Grand River and the Kitchener-Waterloo region for 100 youth to participate in our extensive pre-employment training program specific to the wood manufacturing industry. WERC includes a comprehensive Intake Assessment, Essential Skills and Life Skills training, an extensive shop and safety component as well as a work experience opportunity.
The project will feature six intakes of approx. 15 participants – two in Toronto at George Brown College, one at Durham College, two at Conestoga College in Kitchener and one for the Six Nations First Nation at the Ogwehoweh Skills and Trades Training Centre. The WMC is very pleased to have these organizations as our delivery partners.  

Atlantic Canada
WMC, in partnership with the Community Centre Alliance (CCA) is launching a WERC skills development program for 12 youth in St. John’s, Newfoundland to participate in. The Community Centre Alliance (CCA) is a non-profit organization that fosters the development of its community centre members and their participants, through programming and partnerships with other community centres, community leaders and stakeholders. The CCA mission is achieved through the provision of programs, services and supports in the areas of employment, education, health and wellbeing.
Our delivery partner for the eight-week shop component is Academy Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest independent career college and the province’s only nationally accredited Canadian Education and Training Accreditation Commission School.  For more than 30 years Academy Canada has been offering 35 one and two-year diploma programs from campuses in St. John’s and Cornerbrook.
 
Both projects (Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador) will provide participants with industry mentorship, an opportunity to experience the workplace and to showcase the skills learned during the WERC project - with the ultimate goal of securing employment. WERC is a basic non-accredited program that will open new doors for participants who might not otherwise have considered a career in wood manufacturing.
This program was designed to provide under skilled, under represented and inexperienced individuals - including youth who face barriers to employment - with applied employability skills development and private sector work experiences. Included in the training are such topics as industry culture, expectations, teamwork, essential skills, health and safety, personal skills, attitudes and behaviours, language skills, manufacturing equipment and processes, job attachment and career development, hand and power tools etc. The goal is to provide employers with another, perhaps untapped, resource to address their workforce needs.
Youth will be recruited through youth-serving agencies, employment programs, individual referrals, government departments etc. Youth selected will receive a solid foundation in the industry, understand employer expectations and gain a basic introduction to the wood manufacturing industry through work experience placements and mentorship. This will improve opportunities to compete for positions in the trade as well as increase entry for apprenticeship opportunities. Youth selected will be case managed and project staff will provide intervention support with job placements to ensure a smooth transition from skills development to employment. Employers in the wood manufacturing industry will have an opportunity to host project youth in their shops for the job placement component and see potential employees in action.
For the WERC program, WMC has created a comprehensive intake assessment, which provides a holistic approach to matching potential program participants to entry-level positions for the industry. Using job accommodation methods and flexible assessment, WERC is geared to include diverse populations. The intake assessment is the gateway to the projects; applicants that are a good fit in our sector will be accepted into these training programs aimed towards success in further training or employment. The intake assessment is designed to support individuals; it is a plain language document that accommodates potential employees who have basic skills yet a desire to begin a career in the wood manufacturing industry.  The assessment provides the assessor, the employer and the potential employee with results relating to previous experience, suitability, employability, essential skills, technical abilities etc.  
WMC continues to create opportunities for individuals to enter the wood manufacturing industry. Stay tuned for additional WERC program deliveries in other regions across Canada shortly.
Interested in knowing more about the WERC program, how we can bring a project to your region or how to become a participant in one of the projects?  Contact Norma Ricker at norma@wmc-cfb.ca

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