March 28, 2023 ~ CMHA Kelowna is looking for individuals who are having trouble finding work for a new job-skills training program in collaboration with FortisBC.
The Residential Energy Efficiency Works (REnEW) Program, first started in 2010 by FortisBC, educates and trains people who are experiencing barriers to finding employment. The program gives individuals who are taking part a unique opportunity to prepare for a career within the emerging energy-efficient construction industry.
“We applaud the leadership of FortisBC for starting the REnEW program and are proud to partner with them to support vulnerable people to build their self confidence and stabilize their lives,” said Mike Gawliuk, CEO of CMHA Kelowna. “The REnEW program is an outstanding example of a program that achieves a triple bottom line, having a social, economic, and environmental benefit.”
Through the program, participants will earn critical industry-respected safety certificates including First Aid, Fall Protection, WHMIS, and Construction Safety Training Systems, which sets graduates up with training that will propel them to better job prospects.
Employers within the trades sector also benefit by partnering with the program. They gain access to the skilled, entry-level workers in a time when the labour force is struggling. Employers will also have up to two weeks of wages covered through the program.
“Working together with CMHA Kelowna is a great opportunity to support participants with training sessions and practical experience they can take with them and apply in their future careers,” said Carol Suhan, manager of community programs at FortisBC. “It’s inspiring to see graduates of this program find success in their own unique ways and we look forward to welcoming this next group of participants into our program.”
Once in-class and safety training sessions are completed, participants will spend two weeks retrofitting windows and installing other energy efficiency measures at Freedom’s Door, a men’s addiction and recovery centre before graduating from the program. Participants are mentored by CMHA Kelowna, through Foundry Works, for up to three months to help find long-term or permanent work placement.
A former participant of the program says they found the REnEW program very beneficial. “It opened my eyes to a few aspects of the construction world that I was unaware of and for that I was pretty grateful because I’m able to use it today in the workforce.”
The REnEW program training sessions are scheduled to begin May 8th. Individuals who are interested in the program are encouraged to apply by April 14, 2023 by contacting CMHA Kelowna’s Tamiko Keating, at [email protected] or 250-801-5654.
The program requires that participants are 18 years and older, and are experiencing multiple barriers to work. No experience is necessary but candidates must be fit enough to and legally entitled to work in BC, and interested in working within the energy retrofitting sector.