PosAbilities offers training, skill-building for people with disabilities seeking employment
Camille Jensen



VANCOUVER – Paul could see himself working with seniors while Francis enjoys children. James wants to be a dishwasher. These are some of the potential job roles shared by new students attending posAbilities employment services training program.

The three-week course that welcomed a new cohort of students Monday provides training and skill-building to people who have a developmental disability in order to find and keep employment in their desired field.

Kelly Berge and Lauren Berube are two facilitators of the course, which is offered in New Westminster and Vancouver.

Lessons range from practical skills like learning to plan ahead for each work day, to leadership development, role modelling professional behaviour and practising teamwork. Each day, a new lesson is added, as well as a review of the previous day’s course work.

According to Kelly, the training reflects a regular work day, with scheduled coffee breaks and lunch, as well as a sign-in and out card. Students are expected to model the practices they learn in the classroom, such as dressing neatly and arriving 15 minutes early.

“I tell (the students) they are co-workers here, and I’m their supervisor,” explains Kelly, who regularly teaches in New Westminster.

In order to be part of the employment services training, students must graduate from a life skills course, and express an interest in gaining employment. Kelly says this ensures people achieve better outcomes.

“It has to be their choice,” she says.

“When any of us are excited and motivated to do something, we are going to do better at it.”

Once students feel they’ve mastered the training, there are options to redo certain modules or the entire course if needed. Then they move to the next phase of the employment training called discovery.

For this class though it’s Day 2 , and the students who range in age from early 20s to mid 40s, are getting comfortable with their new surroundings and having fun learning some new practices.

“I was totally nervous,” recalls Linus, on starting the employment training. He says after getting to know the teachers and the students, he’s “not nervous anymore.”

For Francis, the youngest student in the class, she’s becoming more comfortable with raising her hand when she needs to ask questions.

James is a sponge, who remembers lessons easily, and shares his experience with the class.

PosAbilities employment services job training is one of several services it offers to develop more diverse and vibrant workplaces. Additional services include a job club, on-site job training and ongoing support with workplace change.

To learn more about posAbilities employment services, click here.

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