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New skills for new jobs

Manpower and SAIT team up to provide programs to those changing fields
Manpower and SAIT team up to provide programs to those changing fields

A province-wide retraining program provided by SAIT is set to put 160 people across Alberta back into the workforce by giving them new skills in technology-related careers.

Over the 18-week program — and an eight-week work experience placement organized by employment firm Manpower — those who lost jobs during the economic downturn will have the chance to diversify their skillset to find jobs within IT and digital areas, such as network specialist and software developer roles.

"The goal is they will work in that field when they finish," says Heidi Brandley, Manpower's Director, Workforce Development.

It's a perfect match for both SAIT and Manpower — a partnership that plays to both organizations' strengths, says Brandley.

"We're experts in employment and with SAIT experts in occupational skills training, we can get participants into the workforce with skills that are in demand in the market."

SAIT curriculum across Alberta

In order to secure Alberta Labour funding to retrain 80 people in both Edmonton and Calgary, Manpower's first move was to connect with SAIT to handle the curriculum and actual training, Brandley says.

The program is provincial, but the curriculum was entirely developed by SAIT — the University of Alberta will deliver SAIT's lessons to the participants in Edmonton.

More than 500 people applied for the 160 spaces in the two cities.

"We're noticing a lot of interest in the tech sector," says Brandley. "Everyone knows that's an up-and-coming industry."

As new employment spaces emerge in the wake of a changing economy, programs like this allow SAIT to be more agile in addressing skill gaps.

"The province is in a tricky position. The need for new skill sets are emerging faster than traditional programming can always respond," says Lora Bucsis, Manager of Emerging Markets in Corporate Training.

"With programs like this, SAIT can be nimble."

The quick turnaround in creating the retraining program, along with the concise curriculum, will have participants back to work sooner.

"We have such an important role to play in these people's transitions. We're helping people get jobs," says Bucsis.

Women in trades

The tech skills training is only one part of the partnership between SAIT and Manpower.

Launching in March, emPower is aimed at introducing unemployed women to five trades through pre-apprenticeship training.

Through emPower, the group has the chance to try their hands at five different trades that SAIT offers, including ironworking and heavy equipment operator, along with prep work for the Apprenticeship and Industry Training qualification exam and mentorship.

emPower promotes diversification in the world of trades and sets women on the path of apprenticeship, says Bucsis.

"It's a solid foundation for them."

Collaboration is key

Brandley praised SAIT for taking a collaborative approach when it comes to program delivery, adding there is huge potential for working together on additional retraining programs.

"In this current economic climate — especially with the rapid changes in the labour market and industry demands — the more flexible we can be in training and support, the more effective it will be," she says.

"SAIT is open to new ideas and ways of doing things. Partnership is key to delivering these types of services."

Stay ahead of skill gaps and contact Corporate Training Solutions to find out how SAIT can help your company be nimble.

TechCareers and emPower are programs designed by Manpower with the curriculum delivered by SAIT.

To register contact Manpower or visit these websites.

1.855.585.TECH (8324)

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