Train connection
Job-training program assists employers and employees

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 24/00) - The money is there, but a NWT job-training program is being "underutilized."

That is according to Robert Worsley, career development manager with the GNWT Department of Education, Culture and Employment.

"We'd like to do more," said Worsley, who works with the Canada-NWT Service Centre, North Slave Region.

The on-the-job training program assists employers with training of Northern residents who receive employment insurance or those who have had a claim within the past three years. Women on maternity benefit are also eligible, he said.

"This (program) is not meant for trades training. This is for semi-skilled. It can lead to trades training," said Worsley, who spoke Friday at the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce business luncheon at the Explorer Hotel.

Over the last year, the program has only had about 30 clients, Worsley adds.

The money -- several million dollars is available but only over the next few years -- comes from employment insurance coffers through Human Resources Development Canada.

As for amounts, the program will cover up to 80 per cent of a trainee's pay -- up to $300 a week.

"This training on the job also benefits you (businessowners). People not well-qualified can be trained to suit the needs of your company," he said.

"Training by osmosis is the best way to train -- training by watching and doing."

Worsley added the program is not meant to push companies to create new positions but, he adds, nor is the program's goal to provide companies with cheap labour.

And, to make it easier, the service centre will help employers put together a training plan for free. As for the federal government and the GNWT, they are not eligible for this program, Worsley said.

They can, however, take part in another one of the service centre's initiatives -- the Labour Market Partnership program.

The partnership program's goal is to assist in community employment development.

This program is also "underutilized," adds Worsley. "We have worked with non-government organizations. We haven't worked with the city or business, but are looking to."

In fact, the Labour Market Partnership program currently has two initiatives on the go-- one with the NWT Chamber of Commerce and one which includes Diavik Diamond Mines and the NWT Chamber of Mines.