What is the overall impact of the initiative and how is this measured?
The program had a 40% completion rate, but was still successful. Learners did not complete the program but chose to stay and work at their work placement before the program was done. The demand for labourers was very high.
Employment Outcome: 89%
What challenges have you faced and how were these overcome?
Attendance issues due to childcare and transportation were main challenges – these were addressed by making the program timing more flexible, and offering supports for childcare and transportation.
What are 3 key lessons you learned from developing or delivering your initiative? What advice from those lessons would you share with others?
- Strong partnerships are vital to program success.
- Flexibility in the program resulted in better attendance – this program was at night time rather than daytime; and attendance was poor on Fridays so learners agreed to work longer hours the other days and have Fridays off which worked well for the class.
- CTRC ABE Team has adopted a holistic model/framework which helps meet the learners’ needs, identifies gaps in the learners’ life, advice on these gaps, and empowers the learner to take charge and make a difference in their own lives. Change takes time but CTRC helps to create this change.
What have participants, stakeholders and partners thought, felt and/or said about your initiative?
“It only takes one barrier to interfere with students’ success,” – Lisa Irlbeck, Adult Basic Education Coordinator, Carlton Trail Regional College
“My grandkids say, “We are gonna be like you grandma – go to Grade 12.” – Marie Jeanette Paul, Program Participant
“I didn’t really like school when I was younger…now nothing is really holding me back, so I want to finish.” – Lillian Koller, Program Participant
Incorporation of Essential Skills
Which Essential Skills are covered by the initiative?
Working with Others
How are the Essential Skills integrated into your initiative?
While learning ES and life skills in the classroom, participants also engage in ES learning by spending one day a week at the Inspire Direction Equine Assisted Learning (IDEAL) program, and one day in a work placement. The IDEAL program uses the relationships that the students foster through their work with horses to help the students see themselves as learners and become invested in their own learning and development.
In the classroom, students identify topics of interest and the instructor finds ways to build ES lessons from these topics. Community current events and issues are also used, not only to develop learners’ ES, but also to build community awareness and involvement.
How do you assess participant Essential Skills?
What are the components of the initiative?
Work-integrated learning (i.e., internships, co-ops, work placements, etc.)
Career and/or educational planning
Cultural, language, and tradition awareness and/or training
How do you support participant success in the program?
Child care support
How was Indigenous culture integrated into the program content or delivery?
The incorporation of the IDEAL program, which is developed and operated by the One Arrow Equestrian Centre. This is a local business that supports academic and work placement learning by helping learners discover more about their personal strengths and overcome challenges by working with horses. Equine Assisted Learning Ring, focusing on communication, anger management and crisis resolution.
To support the cultural component of the program an Elder visits regularly with the students to talk about traditions, spirituality, teepee teachings, and share stories to help the students identify their own strengths and build self-confidence. Additionally, the Elder works with students to conduct ceremonies, learning about traditional medicines, how to follow protocols, and how to live a balanced life in terms of the four aspects of mind, body, spirit, and emotion. There are also times when the Elder stops in to see how the program is progressing and offer advice to students and the Instructor. All of this provides a sense of cultural grounding for the participants, but also provides them with teachings they can carry with them beyond the program.
Students also had Aboriginal instructors, and had Band Council members speak to them about the importance of learning and becoming more involved in the community.
What do you think are the most important competencies and attributes for staff involved in this initiative to have?
Instructors should be able to connect with students on a personal level, and be able to integrate ES in the classroom based on their interests – they help students relate their experience in school to their everyday life.
Who are your partners, and what is their involvement in the initiative?
One Arrow First Nation – Provided facility and support with transportation, childcare, job coaching.
Zak’s RTM Housing – Provided work placement opportunities.