The new year is going to bring a wealth of determined job seekers in five Nunavut communities.
Arviat, Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet hosted 12-week pre-employment workshops from September into December. In Iqaluit, the program will be complete in March.
“I learned a lot of new skills and I feel more confident finding a better job,” said Kristy-Lise Gibbons, one of the participants in Arviat. “My dream is to be a business owner or (have) an office job.”
She said her knowledge of computer programs improved significantly and she picked up tips on how to give better job interviews. She had the opportunity to work at the Nunavut Housing Corporation office in Arviat for a week, which she said she enjoyed.
The pre-employment workshops were facilitated by Ottawa-based Performance Management Consultants, with funding from the Department of Community and Government Services.
Arviat’s James Koomak said he gained insight into the operations of a variety of workplaces, as each Friday guest speakers would give presentations about their businesses and the types of employees they seek.
“This course has helped me a lot (to decide) what I want to do in the future,” said Koomak, who has previously been a dishwasher with mining company Agnico Eagle. “I’m planning to apply either for the Nunavut Teacher Education Program or going to law school.”
In Cambridge Bay, Shauna Okalitana said she has learned to overcome her shyness, which she said will help her advance in her professional life.
“I always was a janitor and I’ve always wanted to be in the office-work field,” said Okalitana. “I’m happy, and I’m thankful for one of my friends asking if I wanted to take the program.”
Fellow workshop participant Bernadette Evetalegak is also looking to make a move away from janitorial work.
“I would hope to be sitting behind a desk somewhere, more like office admin,” she said.
Evetalegak said the pre-employment training gave her a real boost.
“I’ve learned a lot of things. You might need a couple books,” she said. “I learned how I can pick up work, how to do resumes properly, how to do cover letters properly. I learned more respect and confidence in myself.”
Cambridge Bay’s James Ektakohak also had words of praise for the workshop.
“I would strongly recommend it to more people if it was to come back up here,” he said, adding that he’s been involved in many training programs over the years so this acted as a refresher for him.
“I’m looking for an office job,” he said.
Gibbons added that there was one other highlight: a culture day when the students baked bannock and muffins and made macaroni salad pudding for the elders. They played games with the elders while visiting them, too, she said.