Program offers trained workers to industry

Bonnie Belec
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Choices for Youth informs homebuilder’s group about trades program

A partnership with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Newfoundland and Labrador, would serve as a building block for the train for trades program suggests the program’s co-ordinator.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL), held its monthly membership meeting at the Suncor Energy Fluvarium in Pippy Park on Tuesday afternoon. The keynote speaker for the session was Rosalind Curran (right) of Choices For Youth. She chatted with CHBA-NL CEO Victoria Belbin following her address. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Rosalind Curran, who has overseen the program throughout its seven-year history, was the guest speaker at the association’s monthly meeting Tuesday.

She said teaming up with the homebuilders would be a natural progression.

“I think we absolutely have a future together,” Curran told The Telegram following her presentation.

“We have a really, highly skilled group of young people and (the association) has employers who need people to work. Both would benefit,” she said.

Choices for Youth, a not-for-profit organization that provides several programs to young people needing various forms of support, started 22 years ago.

Curran told the gathering it has grown to offer a continuum of support throughout seven key programs and serves about 600 youth a year through supportive housing, outreach, a young men’s shelter, transitional housing as well as training for trades.

She said the trades program is designed to meet the needs of youth and industry, by teaching participants the necessary safety knowledge and general construction training — combined with energy efficiency retro-fit training — to prepare them for a career in the industry.

On the flipside, the program offers fully trained employees to companies once the hands-on, 42-week program is complete.

Curran said the participants build on that experience and learn to manage jobs successfully.

She said 70 young people have gone through the program, which has a 75 per cent retention rate of youth employed or in post secondary programs.

Victoria Belbin, the home builders’ association’s CEO, said there could be a future partnership formed with Choices for Youth.

“Our members are always looking for new, young, energetic people to enter into the workforce,” she said regarding residential construction and renovations.

“It’s a great program and offers the alternative to hiring off the street or advertising. This is a program where members can support the development of a young person and their venture in a professional career and the employer gets a trained, longer relationship with the employee,” said Belbin.

She said the two groups have been talking about a partnership for some time, but nothing conclusive has been formed.

Belbin said construction is a fluid industry, and while it has been experiencing a high for the past couple of years it is starting to level off.

“It’s still at historical highs when it comes to new home construction,  and we anticipate the cost of renovation projects are going to take off where the cost of housing is high and people look at other options,” she said.

“But our companies are always looking for trained workers specific to our industry — framing, interior/exterior window and door installation — so I think there is definitely an opportunity to work closer together,” Belbin said.

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