So I’ve just completed my second step in the Government funded training program. (See previous blog post: My Field Trip To Enlightenment: Canadian Economic Action Plan) I went to yet another orientation session, this one at the Future Works office, to find out not what I could do for my Government, but what my Government can do for me.
I was twenty minutes early. It was me and another lady in a little conference room. I filled out my paperwork and a third lady came in to take a seat. It was dead quiet, save the sound of my pen scratching across my clipboard. Lady number three decided to take out her nail clippers and start grooming herself. I raised one eyebrow and gave her side-daggers.
The session started at 10:00 am. We had ten minutes and I started wondering if we would be the only three of us girls in attendance – all sitting in opposite corners of the room.
I recently read a release from the Labour Force Survey, part of STATS Canada, that the only demographic group with a notable employment change in December was women aged 25 to 54, down 24,000.
Furthermore, in the past nine months, employment stabilized for core-aged men, whereas employment for youth continued to decline over the summer months and has since changed little. In contrast, the number of workers aged 55 and over has increased by 4.7% over the last nine months of 2009.
Enough STATS. Let’s get back to me. Some men start joining our group at about two minutes to ten. A small man in an older suit took a seat next to me. Bad shoes. I noticed that he had a big mud stain on the bottom of his pant leg. I started making up scenarios in my head which led to such a large, muddy pant leg. I won’t get into those.
I continue staring down and pretending to read my paperwork in fear of catching someone’s eye and feeling obligated to make polite conversation. Everyone is much older than me, and those who don’t come off as being awkward, have an air of annoyance about them. Like there are better things they could be doing. I checked the time. Regis and Kelly just ended and The View would be coming on soon.
A guy in a well-worn, tan leather jacket sits behind me. He smells like he took a bath in Aqua Velva this morning. The room is almost full now. Nine men and four women.
We get down to business with a well-made, visually pleasing power point presentation. No capitalization errors, nice colour scheme and well-laid out. I learned that this program is not what I thought it was. Basically, Future Works is a recruitment company that facilitates Government grants to potential employers. They specialize in science and technology companies with a minor in marketing and sales.
I learned that the Government will fund around 50-60% of an employees paycheck up to a maximum of around $6,500, when that employee is hired and requires some ON THE JOB training. This has nothing to do with going to school. That was news to me, but all the same, I suppose it’s still a good thing. They call it the Targeted Wage Subsidy Program.
So for example, my background has been in traditional advertising and marketing. I want to go into online project management. The Government sees that as me furthering my knowledge base and making my skills more relevant for an every-changing and evolving industry. Therefore, they will pay fifty percent of my paycheck to my new employer so that I can spend time learning my new role. Terminology, work-flow, etc. They help to market me to their database of 850 employers – most of which are small to mid-size companies. Once I get and accept an offer, Future Works will walk the employer through the one-page document to get the funding approved through the Government. An interesting concept, but is it beneficial?
I personally feel a much more comfortable in a well-established, reputable company. I like longevity. And I don’t get the feeling that those types of companies could be swayed by a $4,500 incentive. At least I know what this is all about now – and knowing is half the battle. Stay tuned for word on how this progresses.