Myles Bernard, Employment Transition Grounds & Custodial Assistant graduate, is pictured with a pot of petunias. The program will be offered for the first time in Campbell River in January 2021, offering students there a chance to gain valuable employability skills to work in grounds maintenance, horticulture and custodial work. NIC photo

Myles Bernard, Employment Transition Grounds & Custodial Assistant graduate, is pictured with a pot of petunias. The program will be offered for the first time in Campbell River in January 2021, offering students there a chance to gain valuable employability skills to work in grounds maintenance, horticulture and custodial work. NIC photo

Grounds and custodial training expanding to Campbell River

New specialized training to help students gain essential employability skills and work-related certificates is being offered in

Campbell River for the first time.

NIC’s Employment Transition Grounds & Custodial Assistant program will run in both Campbell River and Port Alberni via blended delivery, starting in January.

The 26-week program provides an opportunity for students with diverse learning needs to gain a foothold in the field of basic grounds maintenance and horticulture, as well as custodial and light cleaning work.

In addition to identifying and learning key skills to access and retain employment, students get to take part in work experience placement where they practice custodial or grounds maintenance duties.

“It’s a program that’s aimed squarely at helping students put a solid floor beneath their feet, to have those core skills to work in the custodial or grounds maintenance sectors,” said Kathy O’Donnell, Chair of NIC’s Department of Accessible Learning.

“The work experience is a key part of the program, as it enables students to apply for work with confidence because they’ve already had a chance to practice the skills,” O’Donnell added.

Upon graduating, students can pursue a range of opportunities, including competitive employment, supported work, volunteer positions or further specific skills training.

Employment opportunities may include hotels and motels, schools, recreation centres, hospitals and health care centres, daycares, seniors care facilities, city and regional parks, golf courses, greenhouses and garden centres.

Myles Bernard, a graduate of the program in Port Alberni, spent his work placement at Arbutus RV and praised the format.

“I was able to work independently, I felt happy and safe and I enjoyed helping,” he said.

In addition to industry-relevant training, students will also be able to access valuable, work-related certificates, including FoodSafe Level 1, WHIMIS, First Aid and Worker Safety.

To learn more and apply for the program, visit www.nic.bc.ca/programs/upgrading-access/access/employment-transition-grounds-custodial-assistant/.

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