Ventures Community Futures Development Corporation partnered with Cote First Nation Band businesses, Cote Market Development Inc, Cote Band Store and Duck Mountain Resorts Inc. to deliver workplace skill development training. Owned by the Cote First Nation near Kamsack Saskatchewan, this initiative happened as a result of their commitment to employee development and delivery of service excellence to their customers.
Ventures CFDC staff delivered training to 17 participants comprised of management and staff over a 36-week period. With a mandate to increase the essential skills levels, develop a learning culture, positively impact business viability and sustain long-term employment for the employees. Ventures CFDC and businesses were very pleased with the training outcomes when the program completed May, 2012. Results showed a significant improvement in occupational knowledge, employee loyalty, teamwork skills, communication and self-esteem and employee confidence. The employers conveyed their overall satisfaction with their experience during the program and how their expectations were met. It was very apparent that the skills learned were being incorporated into the workplace and changes were evident. According to participants, "the whole experience was great it was very good to learn new work skills".
Ventures CFDC role in the success of the project was to work with program participants and administer Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) for the pre-assessment and post-assessment. Results identified skill gaps and aided in development of individual learning plans as participant skill level and work experience was varied. Summary of group results comparing exams reflected a median increase in reading and numeracy with significant individual score gains for each of the three essential skills; reading, document use and numeracy showing an improvement of 43 – 47 points.
Ventures CFDC second role in the project was to deliver Supervisor and Retail Sales Associate emerit training through Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC). 82% of participants successfully achieved a passing score on the Retail Sales Associate National Certification exam and three participants successfully achieved a passing score on the Supervisor National Certification exam with two participants achieving the emerit for Professional Certification for Tourism Supervisor. Ventures CFDC staff felt it was important to incorporate extra training such as Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS), Service Best and bookkeeping, giving participants from these retail and hospitality businesses more opportunity to grow their skills.
Ventures CFDC truly values the partnerships made with organizations in the private and public sector during this project and look forward to working cooperatively in the years ahead. It is through these partnerships we are able to enhance capacity by sharing knowledge, expertise, resources and even financial support for program delivery.
Ventures CFDC staff is very excited and looks forward to working with other businesses and feels we have a wonderful opportunity to impact the economic diversification of rural communities within East-central Saskatchewan.