Water Cooler: December 2015 : Tools for the Job – Literacy

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by Melany Hallam

Question: If you are working, do you have the tools to be able to do your job effectively? Yes / No (take the survey here)

Over a 20-year career, legendary NHL coach Jacques Demers won ‘Coach of the Year’ not once, but twice, and led the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup victory in 1993. He also coached NHL teams in Quebec City, Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and was appointed a Canadian senator – all while not being able to read or write.

Demers spent his entire hockey career hiding the secret of his illiteracy, and it wasn’t until his biography was published in 2005 that it all came out. What a relief it must have been – at the age of 60 – to finally let that stress go and discover that his players didn’t laugh at him, he wouldn’t get fired from his job, his wife wouldn’t leave him and that people the world over still respected him for his many achievements.

Jacques Demers is an amazingly accomplished person, but his story makes me wonder how much easier his life would have been and how much more he could have accomplished (although that part is a bit harder to imagine!) had he not had to spend so much time finding creative ways to convince others that he did, in fact, know how to read and write. Some of the things he did included asking secretaries and publicity people to read letters to him, explaining that his English wasn’t very good (he was fluent in both English and French). When he became a general manager, he hired two ‘assistants’ who essentially did all of the paperwork and managing for him. He even asked his wife to write letters for him – until she became exasperated and he had to admit the truth. Demers came up with all kinds of excuses, and no one but his wife ever found out.

Granted, Demers’ story is an unusual one in that he worked at such a high level without being discovered. But his story is NOT that unusual in the ways that he pretended to be literate when he wasn’t.

And the origins of Demers’ problems are not that unusual either. They started at home with a difficult family life; with a violent father who drank too much and took his anger out on young Jacques and his mother, leaving the boy with little energy for school, and causing him to leave home and a lacklustre education behind at an early age.

Demers managed to overcome his handicap and has since become a role model for others struggling with reading and writing. But many people dealing with illiteracy never learn to either work around the difficulties it creates, or admit they have a problem and get help.

So why am I telling you this story, and what has it got to do with doing your job effectively?

January 27 is Family Literacy Day. Success in life starts at home, either with encouragement or with discouragement. Jacques Demers is a testament to that fact, and he has now told his story many times. Learning to read and write can either help you thrive or it can be a hurdle that you’ll spend your life trying to jump over.

Perhaps you think that illiteracy can’t be such a large problem in Canada today. After all, it’s 2016! But just take a look at these statistics from a 2013 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey:

Over the last 10 years, Canadian literacy rates have dropped: in 2003 we ranked above average compared to other countries, we are now just average

  • Almost 6 in 10 Canadians do not have the desired level of numeracy skills (including the simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills needed to count change, calculate tips, or understand credit)
  • Canadian youth (16 to 24 years) are under-performing in literacy compared to their young people in other OECD nations
  • 80% of adults (ages 16 to 65) with the highest literacy levels were employed, versus only about 57% of those who are at the lowest literacy levelsLiteracy even affects your health. A recent BC Literacy survey found that 75% of those with high literacy rate themselves as being in excellent or very good health, compared to only 30% of those with low literacy.Have we really made much progress with literacy levels in Canada? You decide.

If any of Jacques Demers’ struggles with literacy sound like they might apply to you (or someone you know), you’re not alone.

Here are some places to get help in Powell River:

Further reading:

Helping single parents find work: The BC Single Parent Employment Initiative

bc-single-parent-employment-initiative

Finding a job isn’t always easy as a single parent. The Single Parent Employment Initiative offers supports that help single parents on income or disability assistance plan for their future and gain the skills they need to succeed.

The program can provide up to 12 months of funded training, or on the job training through a paid work experience and pays for child care and transportation costs for eligible single parents.

Donald and Jodi are just two of the single parents who have already accessed the program through their WorkBC Employment Services Centre.

You can be social and socially responsible – A holiday message from Minister Coralee Oakes


Tweets – https://twitter.com/WorkBC

Are you a single parent on income or disability assistance in B.C.? Get supports you need to help you find work ow.ly/W38hG

Single parents on assistance can access tuition and child care supports to help them find work. ow.ly/W38hG

Support with tuition and childcare are helping this single mom on assistance find work ow.ly/W3fVu

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WorkBC

Jodi’s back in school and looking to open her own landscaping business thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative. Find out how single parents on income or disability assistance can receive support with tuition, childcare and transportation costs to help them find work.

Healthcare Assistants are in-demand

HCA 2016Healthcare Assistants are in-demand! Earn a starting wage of $22.83 per hour as per Island Health’s website.

You can be a key member of the healthcare team is as little as 10 months with Excel Career College. The Program starts again in Courtenay, January 2016 and there are seats available.

Our Healthcare Assistant Program has proven to be extremely successful. Our classes are 100% instructor led, and offer a hands-on learning approach that guarantees you are ready for the job when you are finished your studies.

On top of that, the program includes a dynamic 14-week practicum placement at the end of the program. During this placement, students are given the opportunity to work in 3 different types for care facilities. This provides vast knowledge and experience before you are even finished the program. Many of our students have been offered employment from their placements.

Excel Career College offers many benefits to our students.

* 2.5 days per week schedule – gives 4.5 days off for work/family

* Never more than 12 students in class – ensures students get the instructor attention they require and deserve

* No need to upgrade, as long as you have grade 10 English, and meet all other program requirements, you are accepted.

*No Waitlist – No need to wait a year or more to study. You can start in June, October or December this year!

* Application assistance for loans, grants, scholarships, etc. – If money is deciding factor for you, we can help look for any funding opportunities, and assist with the application processes.

If you are interested in starting a new career in less than a year, don’t wait! Call today to book a no-obligation meeting to look at your options! 1-855-334-2452 or email info@excelcareercollege.com ic 14-week practicum placement at the end of the program. During this placement, students are given the opportunity to work in 3 different types for care facilities. This provides vast knowledge and experience before you are even finished the program. Many of our students have been offered employment from their placements.

Excel Career College offers many benefits to our students.

* 2.5 days per week schedule – gives 4.5 days off for work/family/play

* Never more than 12 students in class – ensures students get the instructor attention they require and deserve

* Referral bonus – sign your friends up too, and receive $100 in cash

* No need to upgrade, as long as you have grade 10 English, and meet all other program requirements, you are accepted.

*No Waitlist – No need to wait a year or more to study. You can start in January 2016!

* Application assistance for loans, grants, scholarships, etc. – If money is deciding factor for you, we can help look for any funding opportunities, and assist with the application processes.

If you are interested in starting a new career in less than a year, don’t wait! Call today to book a no-obligation meeting to look at your options! Call Shannon at 1-855-334-2452 or email info@excelcareercollege.com

Businesses: Apply for Summer Jobs Program

Business Applications for Summer Jobs Program Accepted in New Year

The federal government is looking for applications from local businesses for the Canada Summer Jobs program.

The program allows not-for-profit organizations, public sector employees and small businesses, with 50 employees or less, to hire full-time summer workers. The program provides work opportunities for youth, between the ages of 15 to 30 who intend to return to school in the next year, with jobs that focus on the priorities of their local communities.

Priorities for the Kamloops-Thompson-Nicola region include businesses and organizations that focus on special, local events, locations, and sector priorities.

The government is also seeking applications from a number of national priorities including: employers who help welcome Syrian refuges and students, Indigenous people, cultural and creative industries and small businesses.

Applications will be accepted from January 4th until February 26th 2016. Accepted applicants can hire students as early as May 2016.

For more information, visit ServiceCanada.gc.ca/csj.

 

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