Opening Doors: Delivering workplace safety to young workers

Community Skills CentreThe Express to Success Program provides potential workers with safety and work skills, and employers with motivated employees. This innovative program provides essential training for unemployed youth and adults ages 15-30, and the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC (the Alliance) is a part of the program’s success.

Express to Success accepts 10 applicants who are unemployed, legally eligible to work in Canada, not receiving Employment Insurance, and not full-time students, and helps them gain sustainable employment.

For two days during the six-week, paid-instruction course, the Alliance delivers critical workplace safety information. The Alliance training focuses on three basic worker rights: the right to know, the right to refuse unsafe work, and the right to participate. The training includes real-world examples and hands-on equipment demonstrations. Participants also learn how to use health and safety equipment and the importance of personal protective equipment.

According to Eileen Roffel, the Facilitator/Job Coach from the Mission Community Skills Centre Society, the program provider: “Many of the employers we need to access to provide our participants with work experience are members of the Alliance. It was natural to use the Alliance team’s expertise to demonstrate the day-to-day operation of the plant and to deliver relevant materials relating to health and safety.”

Using job coaching, mentoring, and employment counseling, participants learn basic skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and social media. They prepare a cover letter and resume, and are matched with an employer to receive eight weeks of work experience, primarily in the manufacturing and food and beverage processing industries.

Eileen states that:

“While many young people adapt naturally to the stresses of participating in the general workforce, others need extra help gaining these skills.”

“Those with anxiety, fear, [negative] lifestyle habits, or self-management issues need extra time and help to become confident in their ability to contribute positively to a workplace and therefore themselves. This is where we can make a difference.”

Express to Success is effective. Since January 2018, 30 participants have graduated the program: nine are employed in manufacturing, six in food processing, five in food services, four in other jobs, three have returned to school, and three are still looking for a job.

For more information on the Express to Success program or to discuss partnering to find employable workers for your company, contact the Community Skill Centre: 604.427.1991 |