Ashley MacDonald, Our WorkPlace manager, outside their offices newly revealed facade featuring their new name. (Kiernan Green / Victoria News Staff)

Ashley MacDonald, Our WorkPlace manager, outside their offices newly revealed facade featuring their new name. (Kiernan Green / Victoria News Staff)

OurPlace rebrands Victoria employment service: Our WorkPlace

Move follows success of employment and computer training for people with employment barriers

Our Place Society has announced the rebranding of its pre-employment training service as Our WorkPlace, following this year’s success of their technology-for-employment training program.

Since January, the Society’s employment training program – formerly known as Next Steps to Employment – has paired two of its programs for those experiencing employment barriers of homelessness, trauma or addiction. They include their People in Progress/Women in Progress training series for job hunting, communication and intrapersonal skills; and their Digital Job Hunters training series for hard computer skills, which also lends participants laptops for reliable internet access.

“I couldn’t imagine the results being better than they are right now,” Our WorkPlace manager Ashley MacDonald said during an open house event Wednesday at their Quadra Street office.

Offering people facing barriers to employment both job-finding skills and a way to reach potential employers provides what can often be the missing element for their success, she said: connection.

“It means connecting to your family, connecting to your bank, doing all the things people have to do if they’re receiving income assistance or disability … We are able to offer that service which will really change people’s scope of what they’re able to do,” MacDonald said.

An Our WorkPlace client who gave her name only as Angela, lost her home a year and a half ago following a split from her partner. Arranging and initiating Zoom meetings had proven a challenge for her goal of starting her own online business, a situation that changed following the Society’s training. “I feel like I’m starting to get on my feet and become independent,” she said.

READ ALSO: North Park Tiny Home Village opens at Royal Athletic Park lot to 30 unhoused

The success of their employment and computer training since January, as well as a forecast influx of employers in September following the lift of COVID-19 measures, necessitated the program’s rebranding as Our WorkPlace, MacDonald said.

“By changing (our name) to Our WorkPlace, it attaches us clearly to Our Place Society,” she said. “Everybody knows us (and) loves us, so we want to be part of the Our Place brand.”

MacDonald has ambitions for social enterprise in the employment training program’s future – providing trainees with a practicum period to develop their job skills in a safe environment without fear of a toxic workplace or termination.

“If they can hold on for the first three months of that learning curve when you go into a new job, chances are (their employer) will have an employee for life,” she said.

READ ALSO: 2018: Our Place offers ‘next steps’ to employment


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