Encore, a virtual 12-week employment program for unemployed or underemployed individuals over 55, is coming to the Elk Valley via the Kootenay Employment Services (KES).
The free virtual program seeks to support adults working past traditional retirement years by bolstering a variety of workplace-related skills.
“(Encore) supports the growing trend of people working past traditional retirement years and changing jobs to achieve their goals later in life,” said Kris Dickeson, media and communications director for KES.
“Kootenay Employment Services is seeing that older workers are faced with a number of unique challenges when it comes to entering the labour force including discrimination and technological barriers. Older workers also come equipped with a lifetime of experience and knowledge – this is very valuable to an employer.”
The Encore program uses a strengths-based approach beginning with four full weeks of virtual in-class training, where eligible participants are paid a living allowance while they work on developing job-searching skills, labour market knowledge, digital technology skills, individualized employment plans, and other essential employment skills.
The initial phase is followed by eight weeks of independent study in either supported employment or a skills training certification. This may include either a short-term course to certify in a desired skill, or on-the-job training with an employer. Participants will further be assisted and supported while seeking employment.
“Our facilitators and program team, assist the participant in defining an employment goal and the necessary steps towards reaching those goals,” added Dickeson.
“This may consist of financially supported training, mental health supports or other identified assistance pathways.”
Program graduates have moved on to find work in retail, hospitality, restaurants, administration and the trades.
The Encore program begins Jan. 11, with class sizes ranging between seven to 15 participants to allow for both group and one on one support.
Those eligible for the program must either be seeking employment, be unemployed, or be precariously employed.
KES’s Encore program is also available for residents of Creston, Cranbrook, Invermere and the surrounding areas.
Participants must have access to a computing device with camera, microphone and speakers and reliable internet, though a computing equipment lending program and assistance with computer skills are available.
For more information visit kes.bc.ca. The program launched Jan. 11, however some participants may start late. To sign up, call 250-428-5655.