How much is experiential learning, rather than classroom learning, a key to success at work? One of the biggest innovations of the last ten years has been the push to give people, people who are struggling to get into the workforce, supported work experience.
The concept of work experience is at the heart of our two social enterprises – the Fab Shop and Tradeworks Custom Products. And our youth and women’s programs are now the core of Tradeworks activity (with the major changes in employment services introduced in April by the Provincial Government).
Tradeworks was originally created to sponsor youth training, now we have the Fab Shop, which is much more than a training program because it adds 14 or more weeks of work experience in a manufacturing business. The program goes beyond skills building – to changing habits, to establishing positive peer relationships, to achieving success, and to renewing self-confidence. For many people living on the street, or in poverty, depression, malnourishment, anger and fear present the real barriers to sustainable work. Our social enterprises provide an extended work experience that gives them a solid boost.
Tradeworks Custom Products offers women casual work opportunities that are a bridge to futures in the trades and other careers. The flexible and supportive business environment gives women a chance to progress at their own pace. Women can work for up to six months taking on a wide variety of duties.
Work experience is key to our youth and women’s programs and we thank all of you who choose to do business with us. We have recently submitted a proposal that will try to do something similar with unemployed older workers too. And we are keenly exploring projects related to recycling and reuse under the Greenest City Action Plan, that may add other work experience opportunities.
In September, our current programs will all be consolidated in a large facility at Cordova and Campbell, now under renovation. We invite you to come visit us when we are settled – 882 East Cordova. This is a time of many changes, we are also revising our web sites and looking forward to other programming opportunities. Check out our blog and web site when you can!