For the last 14 years Trudy Adams has been raising her three children.
“I have twins and another child and there’s only 11 months between them, so it was really hard for me to get out and work,” she said. “To have all my finances met, it was easier for me to stay home.”
Now that her children are older and more independent, Ms Adams felt like it was time for her to return to the workforce, but was hesitant.
Through a friend, she heard about Prosper West.
Offered through East Prince Youth Development Centre (EPYDC), Prosper West is for ages 16 and over who have been out of the workforce and need support to make the transition back into the world of work.
“It was nice to get my resume refreshed and learn new skills that I didn’t really realized that I had,” said Ms Adams to those attending the program’s closing ceremony at the O’Leary Town Complex on Aug. 29. “I’ve been helping out my niece at her work and I’m really glad I have the confidence to get out and do that now, because before I wouldn’t of. I was comfortable home in my own four walls.”
This is the first year EPYDC has offered their prosper program in West Prince.
Prosper West Coordinator and Job Coach Joyce Newcombe said the program is all about assisting the participants in overcoming barriers to employment by helping them recognize the type of transferable skills they might already possess that can be used in other employment areas.
“Two of the biggest barriers I’ve been challenged with is addictions and mental health. Housing can be an issue. So those are the three major areas that people face,” she said. “Some of the people haven’t worked in awhile and have to brush up and get their confidence back.”
For seven weeks, eight participants have been learning about life and employment ready skills, working on resume and cover letter writing and practicing interviewing. Focusing on four sectors - tourism, fisheries, agriculture and construction - there were guest speakers and tours of local businesses too, including Tout River Industries and Mill River Resort.
The participants even earned five certificates that look appealing on resumes - first aid and CPR, excellence in customer services through Tourism PEI, food safety and WHIMS.
Tammi Livingstone is bipolar and has been out of the workforce for about 15 years.
She heard about the Prosper West through Hope Centre Clubhouse in Alberton, where she is a member.
She said she was very grateful to get into the program.
“They’ve coached me along and now I feel like I can get back in the workforce and I didn’t think I would ever get back to work, but now I have resumes out and I’m looking forward to interviews,” she said.
Now that the initial seven weeks has finished, the next step for the participants is finding employment. Ms Newcombe will continue to support the participants and be available to them until mid-November as a job coach.
“This program truly gives them what they need to get back on track and move forward and become independent,” said Ms Newcombe.