Program to prepare people for employment

Tyler Clarke
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Daily Herald

Combatting the disconnect between high job availability and unemployment, a new job preparation course is starting up this month.


Confident that all 16 spaces will fill before then, organizer and educator John Fryters said that it’s an important program for both students and the community.

“It’s not necessarily for young people, but it’s for aboriginal people who are on social assistance, and for people who are at risk of becoming on social assistance,” he said.

“These are people who might be at danger of losing their jobs, or for whatever reason have lost their jobs and are on social assistance.”

Fryters’ focus as an educator will be on teaching students life skills.

“Many times when people talk about life skills they think about how to write resumes, how to go to job interviews, how to maintain employment and get employment,” he said.

“I’m talking more about social skills like communications, how to deal with anxiety, how to deal with a poor self image.

“It’s more for living, because people, if you don’t communicate, you’re never going to be able to keep a job.

“We try to access that in the beginning of the program and try to tailor the program around the needs of the students we have.”

The course is limited to four weeks due to a government restriction that cuts off social assistance for people who are in school for longer than that -- “which doesn’t make sense,” Fryters said. “It’s stupid, actually.”

Regardless, they squeeze in as much as they can within those four weeks, including Fryters’ life skills component and other educators’ career-oriented classes and discussions with a First Nations elder

At the close of the four weeks is a one-week internship at a place of employment in Prince Albert.

“Over the years we’ve actually been very, very pleased with the response of the business community, where most of the business people … are actually reaching out to the community to people who need a break in their lives,” Fryters said.

Employers get the employee on a one-week trial basis free of charge, after which they decide whether to keep them on staff.

“We’ve been very, very successful in that,” Fryters said. “I’ve been in Prince Albert for 25 years, and I can come up with a whole page of names of people who are still working out there, out of programs like this.”

The employment preparation course, called “In The Cocoon” includes 12 classroom spaces and four spaces for one-on-one instruction.

Everything is being offered free of charge as a result of financing through the Urban Aboriginal Strategy Program. The program itself is being offered through North Saskatchewan River Métis Nation Local #269 and the Jubilation Program.

For more information, call 306-764-1172 or 306-970-8675. The deadline to accept names is Thursday and the program will take place from Feb. 18 to March 24. 

Organizations: First Nations

Geographic location: Prince Albert, North Saskatchewan River, Nation Local

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