Rick Murray has been taking courses with “Next Steps” to help learn employment skills after a series of motorcycle accidents changed his physical working abilities. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

Our Place offers ‘next steps’ to employment

New skills-building program launches to help people facing barriers find work

People struggling to get back into the work force now have a new resource to turn to.

After piloting the program for eight months, Our Place Society officially opened its newest outreach facility this week: Next Steps to Employment at 1627 Quadra St.

Its aim is to help people with multiple employment barriers such as lack of education, training or experience; mental health issues, or learning or physical disabilities, to get back on track to finding a job.

“We developed a program that was very comprehensive and provides pre-employment skills, such as basic things like hygiene and showing up to work on time, through to employability skills,” said Our Place executive director Don Evans. “We offer job training in different fields and then do job matching and job placement, and then job support.”

ALSO READ: Our Place looks to create new therapeutic recovery community in View Royal

Next Steps is trying to address the insecurity people have felt in returning to work and the lack of support they experienced, Evans said. The program is also using a unique model that was successful in Manitoba to help people learn.

“The program was designed for people who lack education and didn’t do well in traditional school, so we’re using a methodology … that combines the five senses,” Evans said. “If you absorb information in in different ways, you can really learn.”

Participants will work in groups of 10 to 12 for three-month cohorts focusing on different skills. So far, one cohort has been completed, with a second one just wrapping up.

Rick Murray is participating in the second cohort and said he’s learned a lot from the program, despite having owned his own Harley Davidson business in Nanaimo.

“I had my own business for 25 years and thought I knew everything, but I guess I don’t,” he said. “I’ve had a number of injuries, motorcycle accidents and such, so my physical career is over. So this has been a real breath of fresh air. The people, the facilitators, the special volunteers are just exemplary.”

ALSO READ: Beauty Day at Our Place a chance to rise above daily struggles

As this stage of the program wraps up, Murray said he’s walking away with a lot.

“We’ve just been re-establishing life skills such as effective communication, body language, eye contact, teamwork. We do a number of activities so we have to work as a group together, and it starts off difficult. Then we narrow it down with input from everyone in the team and we nail it.”

After the cohort is finished, Murray is set up to work with car parts and mechanics, something right up his alley.

The program allows people to always learn, including the volunteers and instructors, he added, noting that there’s something there for everyone.

“Everyone can gain something from this. It’s a lot of trust and respect and builds confidence in people, so I would highly recommend it.”


Just Posted

Victoria City Council approves inclusionary housing policy

After years of back and forth, the policy will be ratified in two weeks

Filipino Heritage Month event takes over Centennial Square

Dancing, music and food highlight Mabuhay Day celebration in Victoria

West Shore residents report finding anti-SOGI 123 flyers in mailboxes

SD62 trustee Ravi Parmar says the flyers are ‘garbage’

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read