Youth Work NOW! Employment Webinar

Youth Work NOW! Employment Webinar

Youth Work NOW! – an online webinar taking place Thursday, April 29th at 11Am will help our local youth search for a summer job or their first job. The session will feature short presentations by about a dozen employment related services from our region.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has added unique challenges for youth and their ability to find employment. Public health restrictions, layoffs for the least experienced employees, closures and the struggle of some industries are some factors that have been identified as preventing youth from gaining employment.

A recent regional study revealed about half of youth surveyed stated they need help looking for jobs and over half of youth expressed they lack information about employment programming and job searching tools

To assist our region’s youth the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie has organized Youth Work NOW! to inform local youth ages 15-24 about current resources, programs and services offered across our region to help them find a summer job; for graduating students or for youth not in school – their first full time job and to also help those interested in learning how they can start their own business.

Educational institutions and area organization such as St. Leonard’s Community Services, Brantford-Brant Business Resource Centre, CareerLink and about half a dozen other regional employment service providers will be participating in the webinar to talk about ways they help youth gain employment and resources will be compiled in a catalogue made available publicly on our website.

Youth and their families are invited to join the webinar which will include a Q&A portion and gain access to valuable programs and supports that can assist youth in finding temporary or full-time employment.

Register for Youth Work NOW!

Link to sign up: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YWN

Thursday, April 29th @ 11AM

For those not available to attend the event on April 29th at 11AM, the event will be recorded and available for viewing from our website www.workforceplanningboard.org

 

Partners and Resources:

St. Leonard’s Community Services Wrap Program: Youth Employment Skills Strategy – Work Readiness and Advancement Program (WRAP) | St. Leonard’s (st-leonards.com)

G.R.E.A.T: The Student Office – GREAT (greatsn.com)

City School by Mohawk: City School by Mohawk | Mohawk College

Contact North: Welcome to contactnorth.ca | Contact North | contactnorth.ca

Six Nations Polytechnic: Careers | Six Nations Polytechnic (snpolytechnic.com)CareerLink: Job Seeker :: Career Link

Fanshawe Community Career and Employment Services: Community Career and Employment Services (Simcoe) | Fanshawe College

Brantford Business Resource Centre: Business Resource Centre – City of Brantford – Economic Development (advantagebrantford.ca)

First Work: First Work – Ontario’s Youth Employment Network

First Work Aspire Initiative: Home – Youth Aspire

Brant Skills Centre: Brant Skills Centre

Wilfrid Laurier University: Career and Employment Support | Students – Wilfrid Laurier University (wlu.ca)

Wilfrid Laurier University LaunchPad: LaunchPad | Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation | Students – Wilfrid Laurier University (wlu.ca)

Conestoga College: https://studentsuccess.conestogac.on.ca/myCareer

Grand Erie Jobs: https://workforceplanningboard.org/find-jobs/

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – John

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – John

Today, in our Frontline Fridays feature we talk to Paramedic John Ellis who works for Haldimand County Paramedic Services.

Through Frontline Fridays the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie pays tribute to essential workers in our community. Essential workers have helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

Paramedics like John respond to emergency calls every day and provide emergency medical care to those in need onsite or in route to hospitals or other medical facilities. Paramedics regularly help save human lives.

What does an average day look like for you?

John: Haldimand County Paramedic Services covers an approximately 1300 sq km area. This coverage is provided by five ambulances during the day, and three on nights. Our day begins by checking the ambulance to which we are assigned, to make sure the ambulance is fully stocked, the equipment checked and tested and to make sure it functions as it should. This is regularly performed twice daily to prepare for what could be a busy day. 

Once we complete our daily checks, we log on to our Central Ambulance Communications Centre.  This Centre controls the movement of our ambulances and receives any 911 calls that drop in our area.  When a call is received, a Pager alarm goes off at the station closest to the 911 call, or, if the ambulance is out of the station, the call comes over the radio.

We receive calls for all types of emergencies. These could be medical, such as a person having a heart attack, drug overdoses, traffic accidents, fires, shootings – the list is infinite.  We respond to the call and provide medical assistance to anyone in need.  We have a list of medical procedures and protocols that we follow and that we are trained for. The protocols are medical guidelines that we must follow and they provide the template of care that paramedics follow. A normal day can consist of 6 or more calls.  After each call, an Electronic Patient Care Reporting document (EPCR) is completed for each patient that we treat.  This documentation is a requirement of the Ministry of Health and must be completed by the end of shift.

How has COVID-19 affected your day-to-day work?

John: COVID-19 has added a whole new level of protection and sanitizing level to the profession.  While we are riding in the ambulance, whether it is to a call or out in our area roaming, a face mask must be worn by each Paramedic in the front of the cab of the ambulance as we are less than 2 metres apart and thus cannot socially distance. 

When we respond to a call that could be a potential or confirmed COVID 19 patient, we must put on all our protective equipment on arrival at the scene. This includes a gown, gloves, a respirator, safety glasses, a face shield, boot covers, and a hair cover. This is to protect the patient as well as us. Upon completion of the call, all this safety equipment must be removed in a specific way as to not contaminate yourself or others. If the item is disposable, it is placed in a biohazard container, if it is reusable then it must be cleaned with special cleaning agents that will destroy the COVID-19 virus. If the patient was confirmed to have COVID-19, the medic must shower and change into a new clean uniform. The ambulance must then be decontaminated by a special machine that fogs the interior of the patient compartment to destroy any virus particles that may have been transferred. All this protection has made us hypervigilant about staying safe as we do not want to bring the virus to the next patient picked up by the ambulance, and we also do not want to bring it home to our families.

What has it been like to be an essential worker during the pandemic?

John: Being an essential worker during this time has been stressful and sometimes difficult. Much of our day is spent with patients that require assistance, often involving close contact which cannot be helped or avoided. We as paramedics must be vigilant on every call, as frequently it is not known what the patient is suffering from. A good and safe rule of thumb is to assume worst case scenario – meaning assume every patient has COVID-19 and protect yourself as mentioned earlier. Then we protect ourselves as well as the patient from spreading the virus to someone else. 

On leaving work to come home, a whole new regime is performed before I can greet my family.  I remove my uniform and shower before leaving work and change into clean clothes to not spread anything inside my vehicle. That way when I arrive home, I can greet my family knowing that I have not brought anything home and my family is safe.

What has been the greatest rewards and challenges in your work?

John: Becoming a paramedic was something I always wanted to do. I have been a paramedic for almost 18 years, and I enjoy coming to work now as if it was my first day!  I work with the greatest bunch of people anyone could ask for. We are a small service, and we are like family.  We all get along, work together to achieve goals, and help each other out when and where we can.

The greatest reward, however, is the one I get from helping a patient feel better, in trying to make one of their worst days a little less stressful. To be there with supportive words, and a hand to hold if that’s what will help. There are challenges with some patients that can be difficult, but in the end I treat everyone the same, “the way I would like to be treated “. Whether it is rewards or challenges, being a paramedic is the best feeling and the best job in the world to me.

What have been your greatest supports and means of coping as an essential worker this past year?

John: My greatest supports and means of coping have been my family and my co-workers. My co-workers and I have common ground and due to our family-like atmosphere we have been able to get through this past year together. My family at home helps me keep grounded and are my rock that I can grab onto when I need it. I also have hobbies and things around the house that need to get done that provide a pleasant and non-stressful diversion.

What made you pursue your career? What lead you to take a job in this community?

John: Previously, I was working full-time in another field. Throughout my life I have always wanted to become a paramedic. The opportunity arose and I took the leap of faith at the age of 38. I was accepted into the program at Niagara College. It was the best move and life change I have ever made. I already had a BSc in Biology and had a relevant background.

I chose Haldimand County as it was a smaller service and I had heard from other people it was a great service to work for, plus I had visited Haldimand many times and loved the small town feel and the great sense of community here. I would not trade my time in Haldimand County for anything. From my point of view, it is the best service around to work for!!

What was your education/training?

John: I graduated from Brock University with a BSc in Biology. I had gained life experience working full-time in a couple of other fields, before returning to school at Niagara College for the two-year Paramedic Program. Upon graduating, I was immediately hired by Haldimand County, and I also worked part-time for Niagara EMS for a couple of years. 

My true home was Haldimand. The medics and management made me feel right at home. If you had any questions, management was always willing to help and to try to answer my questions. Our management staff has been fantastic in bringing new skills and specialized training to us and our service. They are always willing to provide us with training to keep up on the leading edge of a rapidly growing profession.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing your career?

John: I would strongly recommend pursuing a post-secondary education, especially in the sciences, and/or health sciences. This will give them the background in human biological systems and make going through the Paramedic Program a little easier, as there is a lot of learning when it comes to becoming a Paramedic. A lot of time is spent learning how to assess and identify what is going on with a patient, along with how to treat that patient. The profession involves continual testing and education to hone your skills and keep current.

A person going into this career must have a truly genuine interest in helping people and be an understanding and compassionate individual. These qualities will go a long way in helping your patient trust you and making them feel safe.

Above all, you must love the satisfaction of knowing that you were able to help someone in their time of need.

 

Are you thinking of becoming a Paramedic? See Paramedic Careers for more information.

 

Local Training and Certification for careers like John’s:

Ontario Paramedic Association:

OPA – Becoming a Paramedic (ontarioparamedic.ca)

Conestoga College:

Paramedic | Full-time | Ontario College Diploma (conestogac.on.ca)

Fanshawe College:

Paramedic | Fanshawe College

Advanced Care Paramedic | Fanshawe College

Paramedic Association of Canada:

Paramedic Association of Canada Home Page

Statistics Canada Occupational Classification:

NOC 2011 – 3234 – Paramedical occupations – Unit group (statcan.gc.ca)

Search Local Paramedic Jobs: Grand Erie Jobs  

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – Jim

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – Jim

Through Frontline Fridays the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie pays tribute to essential workers in our community. Essential workers have helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

Today, in our Frontline Fridays feature we talk to volunteer firefighter Jim Kent. Jim has volunteered with the Haldimand County Fire Department Station 4 (Cayuga) for approximately 35 years.

Deputy Fire Chief Rodger Hill commends Jim for his outstanding contributions to the department over the years and during the recent pandemic crisis:

“Jim Kent has not only served our community, but our firefighters week after week. It is rare to come across someone who is so dedicated and trustworthy, and we want Jim to be recognized for that.

Jim is the co-chair of the Fire Joint Health and Safety Committee and sits on the County’s Health and Safety Co-Chairs committee. He is regularly involved in health and safety meetings, discussions, policy reviews, management of fire hall safety. More noticeably he takes the time to ensure these items, as well as Health & Safety Boards, are consistent in each hall.

Additionally, Jim maintains records, schedules and conducts fit testing for all firefighters on both Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and N95 masks. Jim travels to each fire hall regularly throughout the year, to conduct fit testing – that is approximately 548 fit tests per year taking numerous hours!

Jim consistently goes above and beyond. Recently due to COVID, he has undertaken going to all the stations to disinfect/sanitize fire apparatus. He has also taken a great interest in assisting at the vaccine clinics taking place throughout the county.

Jim’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and we would like to extend our thanks and gratitude for everything that he does.”  

What made you pursue this role?

Jim: Back in 1985, I was asked by the Fisherville deputy fire chief if I was interested in joining the local volunteer fire department. I was a bit apprehensive about it, but I said yes. At that time, you had to submit two letters of recommendation from two firefighters and then it went to a vote from the station firefighters. In January of 1986 I became a member of the department. I was then involved in the village community.

What was your education/training?

Jim: I have a Grade 12 education and no training in firefighting.  Once I joined the department, I was expected to attend station training every Monday evening.  It was also recommended that you would go to the Haldimand- Norfolk fire school weekend training sessions held once a year. The Haldimand County Fire Department now holds weekend training in specific subjects such as ice and water rescue, pump ops, live fire, etc. in addition to Monday night training.

What does the average day look like for you?

Jim: Although most days we do not have calls, we carry pagers which alert us to fire calls on a 24/7 basis which include fires, burning complaints, medical calls and similar. I am also the “worker co-chair” on the Health and Safety Committee which involves attending meetings

In my other tasks, I do fit testing of nearly 300 firefighters to make sure that they are wearing the proper Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) mask at fire scenes and the proper medical mask on medical calls. This testing is done during evenings on a 2-year cycle and includes updating fit test data on each firefighter.

Additionally, Haldimand County Fire Department has a fleet of 42 vehicles located in 12 different locations and I sanitize the trucks using a Noco-Sprayer on a 3-month basis. This process takes one hour per vehicle and about two full days a month.

How has Covid-19 affected your day-to-day work?

Jim: On medical calls, if patient is VSA (Vital Signs Absent), unconscious or Covid-19 positive, we now must wear gowns over our bunker gear/PPE, medical mask and gloves, face shield or goggles. If a patient is Covid-19 positive, personal protective equipment and gear must be washed on return to the firehall.

All trucks and equipment must now be wiped down with disinfectant after fire calls and training sessions. While riding in vehicles, in training sessions and on calls, every firefighter is required to be wearing a medical mask. As well, all tables and chairs in training rooms are now sanitized after each use.

Along with three or four other firefighters, I now also spend two days a week working at the vaccination clinic.  Our job includes directing traffic in the parking lot, directing people in the arena and helping seniors fill out the application form for vaccination.

What has it been like to be an essential worker during the pandemic?

Jim: During fit testing, I try to maintain as much social distancing as possible.  Due to disinfecting protocols, where it used to take 20 minutes to test a firefighter, it now takes 30 minutes minimum.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter?

Jim: I would say have a great interest and passion for being a volunteer in your local community and be dedicated in wanting to provide your time to training and attending calls. Someone can gain skills for becoming a volunteer firefighter from doing other volunteer service in the community, work experience or training, as well as athletic involvement. Challenging yourself to learn is important.

For information on how to become a volunteer firefighter with Haldimand County: Become a Volunteer Firefighter – Haldimand County

Local Training and Certification for firefighters and roles like Jim’s:

Ontario Fire Academy:

Get Professional Firefighter Training at Ontario Fire Academy

Ontario Fire Administration:

Firefighter Technical Skills Assessment | Ontario Fire Administration Inc. (ofai.ca)

Conestoga College:

Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training | Full-time | Ontario College Certificate (conestogac.on.ca)

Ontario Colleges:

Firefighting / Fire Systems | ontariocolleges.ca

Firefighters Association of Ontario:

Fire Fighters Association Ontario | We Are Working For You (ffao.on.ca)

Ontario Professional Firefighters Association of Ontario:

OPFFA – Home

Fanshawe College:

Fire Safety Systems | Fanshawe College

Mohawk College:

Mohawk College Emergency Operations Centre Management and Emergency Site Management Course | Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (oafc.on.ca)

Statistics Canada Occupational Profile:

NOC 2011 – 4312 – Firefighters – Unit group (statcan.gc.ca)

Search Local Fire Services Jobs:

Grand Erie Jobs  

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – David

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – David

Today, in our Frontline Fridays feature we talk to David Birtwell. David works as an AZ Truck Driver in the Cement Division at Stubbe’s Precast. Located in the County of Brant, Stubbe’s is a multi-faceted company that offers Structural and Architectural Precast Concrete, Redi-Mix Concrete and Bulk Cement products for the construction industry.

John Veldhuizen, Manager at Stubbe’s Cement describes the value of employees like David during the pandemic: “Dedicated drivers like David were especially important to us this past year because they kept our product moving on schedule and kept our customers inventories up so everyone could stay profitable. Without our truck drivers, we would not have been successful.” 

Through Frontline Fridays the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie pays tribute to essential workers in our community. Essential workers have helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

What does an average day look like for you?

David: Since starting at Stubbe’s last summer, I have enjoyed driving for the powder division out of Princeton Ontario. This division delivers bulk powder cement to Stubbe’s plants and their customers throughout southern Ontario and Michigan.

During the summer when the powder division is at its busiest, I drive the afternoon shift, so I typically start late morning and end around midnight. The stagger of start times in the powder division gives us the flexibility to deliver to customers almost 24hrs a day when needed. 

How has Covid-19 has affected your day-to-day work? 

David: Last August I was referred to Stubbe’s Precast through a coworker and was told even though Canada was in the midst of a pandemic they were extremely busy. Lots of construction was still going on that was considered essential.

The pandemic hasn’t affected an AZ driver as much as other occupations. We are naturally isolated in our trucks and when we are in contact with customers and in their buildings, we wear masks.  Less paperwork is now exchanged and many of our customers request that we wear gloves when handling their equipment. A unique side effect of the pandemic lockdowns was less traffic to contend with in the GTA, which made driving easier.

What have been the greatest rewards and challenges in your work? What have been greatest supports for coping as an essential worker this past year? 

David: Making sure supplies and products needed for projects get there has been important. Management, as well as fellow drivers, have gone out of their way to welcome me and help me learn how to be a successful team member. I have seen first-hand Stubbe’s core values of hard work, teamwork, ethics, dependability and ownership being demonstrated in all areas of the business.

What made you pursue your career? What lead you to take a job in this community? 

David: It was about 4 years ago that I started considering getting my AZ license. I was attracted to this career because I knew a few AZ drivers and recognized how strong the demand for drivers is. The existing shortages of drivers are big plus a lot of truck drivers are above the age of 45 and looking ahead at retirement. I was referred to Stubbe’s Precast through a coworker and went to work for them out of their Princeton location.

What was your education/training? 

David: I obtained my license through a Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists in Caledonia. It was a great school and one of the only ones that is government approved for EI career upgrades. The rest of my training was done on the job

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing your career? 

David: For anyone considering getting their AZ license I would recommend talking with as many AZ drivers as they can. There are so many different jobs within the trucking community; from long haul to local delivery; from dry van to tanker. Each one requires a unique skill set and has a different work/life balance.

To learn about opportunities with Stubbe’s Precast, visit Stubbe’s Careers

Local Training and Certification for careers like David’s:

Ontario Truck Driving School:

Call Brantford – OTDS | Ontario Truck Driving School

Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists:

Course information | KRTS Transportation Specialists Inc. (krway.com)

Tri-Country Training School:

Tri-County Training Truck Driving School Serving Kitchener, Cambridge… (tri-countytruck.com)

Mohawk College:

Air Brake Training | Mohawk College Continuing Education

Fanshawe College:

Fanshawe College – Fanshawe to offer Essential Skills for Truck Drivers program (educationnewscanada.com)

Z (Air Brake) Training & Test | Fanshawe College

Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada:

http://www.womenstruckingfederationofcanada.net/

Statistics Canada Occupational Classification:

NOC 2011 – 7511 – Transport truck drivers – Unit group (statcan.gc.ca)

Search Local AZ Driver Jobs:

Grand Erie Jobs 

 

 

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – Sharon

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – Sharon

Today, in our Frontline Fridays feature we talk to Sharon Brooks, Executive Director of Kids Can Fly, a local charitable organization that works with children and families supporting early learning and parenting.

Through Frontline Fridays the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie pays tribute to essential workers in our community. Essential workers have helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

What is a typical day at Kids can Fly and how has Covid-19 affected your day-to-day work?  

Sharon: Before COVID-19 I worked from a home office, so the change was less for me to adjust to than our programming staff.

Kids Can Fly works with children and families and our work is based on the importance of relationships. Not being able to come together in person and offer support, modeling and creative programming presented a huge challenge when the pandemic began.

Being in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) field for over 40 years, I have concerns for young children’s emotional health as they are navigated through this unprecedented time. I am overwhelmed with the resilience of children that I have witnessed and the skills and determination of ECE’s who care for them.  As a charity, Kids Can Fly aims to be able to continue to offer support for parents – who need that reassurance more than ever.

When the pandemic started, our frontline staff person – Jane Flinders – who has a wealth of experience, managed the pivot to virtual programming in an amazing fashion. Jane quickly put together engaging virtual programming for children who normally attended our Launch Pad drop-in program. Songs, stories and crafts were offered via Facebook and parents were hungry to bring this normalcy to their children. Some days we have over 1000 hits and people from other communities and even other countries are joining in! 

Jane’s co-host is her preschool aged granddaughter Lucy who is so relatable to the other children. Sometimes they pre-record baking or going for a walk in the woods for the children at home to enjoy. In the fall, we added to this by providing free porch-dropped Kits for Launch From Home activities which allows children to participate in crafts, musical activities and get other home ideas from the newsletter we include.

Kids Can Fly offers weekly programs for the 1 in 5 women who experience postpartum depression or anxiety. During COVID-19 this has magnified so continuing to reach out to these moms was imperative. This was achieved through ZOOM and in the later part of the summer – moms gathered with Jane at Mohawk Park to sit socially distanced and participate in discussions. The need for human contact is so great. 

Kids Can Fly also created a new program shortly after the pandemic hit. HUGS4NEWMOMS is offered Monday mornings and was developed for women having a new baby in during the pandemic’s isolation. During this stressful time in life – without the benefit of family support – this group was really helpful and continues to be well attended by other moms who have had winter babies. 

One of the strengths of Kids Can Fly has been the ability to pivot and address local gaps in service quickly. That being said – it would not have been successful without the high level of skill and commitment from Jane, our other staff and volunteers.

What have been the greatest rewards and challenges in your work?

Sharon: I believe our full Team would agree that we are very proud of the way we were able to show flexibility and quickly change how we supported families – in an engaging and meaningful way. Our Dolly Parton Imagination Library program (where children are mailed a book each month) was NOT impacted by COVID-19 and this has been so appreciated by families. The book arriving in the mail each month offers normalcy to children and they enjoy reading it together with their parents. 

I have had an extremely rewarding career working with children and families. I was the original Executive Director of Kids Can Fly and we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year!  I know that programs we have offered have made a difference in the lives of so many children and I am also appreciative that this wouldn’t have been possible without the talented staff, caring board members, volunteers and generous sponsors.  

The greatest challenge for Kids Can Fly is the inability to hold fundraising events – as we must raise our own money. We have been able to adapt some fundraisers to a virtual or porch drop format but overall, the pandemic has impacted our annual income. We are so grateful SC Johnson recently made an incredibly donation of $150, 000 towards growing the Our Dolly Parton Imagination Library program locally. Currently we send books to almost 2000 local kids monthly.

What have been your greatest supports and means of coping as an essential worker this past year? 

Sharon: Kids Can Fly has a strong Team that inspires and motivates each other. Staff, board members and volunteers are committed to investing in early learning and parenting and cheer each other on.

Feedback from families on how children enjoy the programming or books is always an emotional reward too!

What was your education/training? 

Sharon: I took my Early childhood Education training almost 50 years ago!  To work frontline with Kids Can Fly you need a diploma in early childhood education or equivalent. To work in the management capacity training in Fundraising and Project management plus strong written and oral and computer communication skills are needed as well.

What made you pursue your career? What lead you to take a job in this community? 

Sharon: As a teenager I wanted a career with young children and have always known it was the right choice for me. After working hands-on with children for 3 decades I moved into an Executive Director position. I was hired for this job when Kids Can Fly was created based on my frontline experience and skills gained from volunteering, including major fundraising, which I learned while I was with the Canadian Equestrian Team. I knew it would be rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing your career? 

Sharon: Volunteering is always beneficial to see if the career is a good fit. In normal times, we use volunteers in our programs and the more experience one has the more marketable they are. Also, it helps to make sure this field is right for you. It’s high energy and requires patience.

If you would like to learn more about the organization, visit Kids Can Fly or follow them on Facebook.

Local Training and Certification for careers like Sharon’s:

Conestoga College:

Early Childhood Education | Full-time | Ontario College Diploma (conestogac.on.ca)

Senior Leadership and Management in the Not-For-Profit Sector | Continuing Education | Conestoga College

Six Nations Polytechnic:

Early Childhood Education (0106) | Six Nations Polytechnic (snpolytechnic.com)

Fanshawe College:

Early Childhood Education | Fanshawe College

Applied Fundraising Practices | Fanshawe College

Mohawk College:

Early Childhood Education – 213 | Mohawk College

SkillsAdvance Ontario: ECE Assistant Training – EDUC 10062, CRED 10148 | Mohawk College

Fundraising | Mohawk College Continuing Education

Wilfrid Laurier University:

Youth and Children’s Studies (BA) | Wilfrid Laurier University (wlu.ca)

The Child & Adolescent Research and Education Lab | Wilfrid Laurier University (wlu.ca)

Statistics Canada Occupational Profile:

NOC 2011 – 0423 – Managers in social, community and correctional services – All examples (statcan.gc.ca)

NOC 2011 – 4214 – Early childhood educators and assistants – Unit group (statcan.gc.ca)

Search Local Early Childhood Education Jobs:

Grand Erie Jobs

 

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – Julia

Celebrating Grand Erie’s Essential Workers – Julia

Today, in our Frontline Fridays feature we talk to Special Constable Julia Bergsma. Julia works for Wilfrid Laurier University in the Special Constable Service Division.

In our Frontline Fridays series, the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie pays tribute to essential workers in our community. Essential workers have helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

What does an average day look like for you?

Julia: The Laurier Special Constable Service (SCS) is open 24/7 to respond to calls for service at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford and Waterloo campuses. As a sworn officer with the Laurier SCS, an average day begins by participating in roll call and being briefed by my colleagues who worked on the prior shift.

Throughout our shifts we patrol campus by vehicle, foot (or bike when the weather permits) to conduct security checks and respond to any on campus emergencies or general calls for service. We are dispatched to calls through the SCS Communications Centre. Special constables can make arrests and lay charges under the same authority as police officers.

SCS regularly connects with Laurier stakeholders to ensure the service reflects the wants and needs of the campus, and is creating a positive, student-centred environment. We listen to concerns, offer education and crime prevention programs for students, faculty and staff, and employ the Ontario Mobilization and Engagement model of community policing. We strive to provide a caring and professional atmosphere ensuring we are respectful and committed to Indigeneity and equity, diversity and inclusion as part of our core values.

We must document our work activities, and each shift we must complete written reports for all calls for service.

How has Covid-19 has affected your day-to-day work?  

Julia: We have additional safety requirements in place, including wearing face masks and regularly disinfecting our shared workplaces. Laurier SCS has an app, called SAFEHawk, which students can use to contact us. The app now also includes a self-screening assessment tool for COVID-19 that all Laurier employees – including special constables – must complete before coming on campus. With our campuses quieter than usual because many are studying from home there is a heightened need for us to be proactive in our patrols of campus.

What has it been like to be an essential worker during the pandemic? 

Julia: Being an essential worker during the pandemic has its share of difficulties and stressors. Much of our day is spent interacting with different people whether they be from the Laurier community or the community at large. In a time where social distancing is of high importance, we understand It may not always be possible. We take every precaution to limit the chances of exposure to our team, or by our team.

It’s not uncommon for us to interact with and provide support for marginalized members of our community. We do our best to help everyone we interact with. This winter our team, along with the Laurier Wellness Centre, St. Leonard’s Community Services and the Salvation Army assembled cold weather kits with hats, mitts, socks, snacks and other essential items to give out to people we encounter who may need them. We’ve also been involved in recent incidents of drug overdoses where lives were saved by special constables by administering CPR, first aid and naloxone.

What have been the greatest rewards and challenges in your work?

Julia: I became a special constable because I wanted to help people and make a difference. That’s my goal when I come to work each day: to try and make a positive contribution. As a Laurier alumna, I also enjoy the opportunity to be able to mentor students who are looking for support.

In terms of challenges, the community we serve is always changing. Each year students graduate, and new students start. This creates an ongoing need for us to educate incoming students as to who we are and how we can help so that they make use of our services when they need them during their years at Laurier.

Another great reward is the opportunity to work at convocation at the Sanderson Centre. Many times we see students who we have assisted at some point in their journey crossing the stage at the graduation ceremony to receive their degrees. It’s rewarding to see them accomplishing their goals. Laurier has a genuine sense of community, making it a great place to work.

What have been your greatest supports and means of coping as an essential worker this past year? 

Julia: I know that all members of our team have dealt with the challenges of the pandemic in different ways. For me personally, getting exercise and staying physically active has been a big help. I’ve also appreciated being able to lean on friends and family for support. I’m grateful to have a supportive workplace with coworkers and supervisors you can rely on.  We’re always checking in on each other and doing our best to maintain a positive mindset. As an institution that promotes well-being, Laurier also has several different resources available to staff.

What made you pursue your career? What lead you to take a job in this community? 

Julia: I enjoyed being part of the community as a Laurier student in Brantford and always appreciated the work that SCS did on campus. I knew that I wanted to work within law enforcement, but for a service that focused on education and community support. For me, Laurier SCS fit that bill. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with people in the community, build connections, provide assistance to those who are in need and offer support to victims of crime.

When you look at the Laurier SCS team, we all come from a diverse set of backgrounds. Some, like me, are recent alumni. Others are former police officers. Regardless of background, we’re all drawn to the opportunity to make a positive difference.

What was your education/training? 

Julia: I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Contemporary Studies. Some of my colleagues have diplomas in legal studies, police foundations, or degrees in Criminology or other fields. Several are pursuing further education via the online Policing Program offered at Laurier.

Special constables are required to meet specific training standards as identified in the agreement between the local Municipal Police Service and the university for continued employment. We receive annual block training with the Brantford Police Service. As part of our onboarding we also participate in training on anti-oppression, micro aggression and implicit bias, and indigenous awareness.

With our director’s support we can pursue other ongoing education and training opportunities. For example, I completed training in de-escalation and mental health awareness. I continually seek opportunities for ongoing learning and improvement.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing your career?

Julia: I’d strongly suggest pursuing post-secondary education. Regardless of your field of study, further education will help hone the critical thinking skills, empathy and collaborative skills you’ll need to be successful as a special constable. I’d also suggest getting involved in your community as a volunteer and maintaining a high level of physical fitness. I think it’s also essential to maintain a growth mindset. Continually challenge yourself to learn, challenge your assumptions, and be open to new ideas, viewpoints and opportunities.

Learn more about Laurier’s Special Constable Service here.

Local Training, Education and Certification for careers like Julia’s:

Laurier University

Criminology (BA) | Wilfrid Laurier University (wlu.ca)

100% Online Policing and Criminology Degrees | Wilfrid Laurier University (wlu.ca)

Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police:

Becoming a Special Constable – OACP Certificate Testing

Home – OACP Certificate Testing

Mohawk College

Police Foundations – 218 – 258 | Mohawk College

Conestoga College

Police Foundations | Full-time | Ontario College Diploma (conestogac.on.ca)

Westervelt College

Law, Security and Police Foundations – Westervelt College

Fanshawe College

Police Foundations (Accelerated) | Fanshawe College

Statistics Canada Occupational Classification:

NOC 2011 – 4311 – Police officers (except commissioned) – Unit group (statcan.gc.ca)

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