AGM 2017

Last night was the Lifetime Networks Annual General Meeting.

Staff, Board Members, Participants, and Lifetime Networks supporters gathered together to celebrate all of the hard work that has been done over the past year, and review some of the exciting and ambitious goals in place for the year to come.

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Waiting for the meeting to start

 

We were pleased to present Red Barn Market with the Community Supporter of the Year award. Red Barn has shown great commitment to inclusive hiring practices.

A participant from the Lifetime Networks Employment Program was hired at the Oak Bay location shortly after they opened a year ago. Owner Scott Travers immediately took this individual under his wing, taking a personal interest in his training and professional development. This has been a very successful placement and the individual is still happily employed as a member of the Red Barn Market team.

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Scott Travers accepting the Community Supporter of the Year award on behalf of his store, Red Barn Market, Oak Bay

 

Each year, a deserving participant is selected to receive the Pieter Van Rheenen Scholarship Award. This scholarship can be used to purchase additional supports and services. This year, the staff team chose to present Eric De Loor with this award. Eric has been very dedicated to Lifetime Networks. He has been volunteering as a courier for the organization, as well as taking on a mentorship role with another young man with Autism through the Networks Program.

Eric will be using the scholarship to help him towards his dream of being a professional writer. Congratulations Eric!

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Eric De Loor (second from left) poses with family and friends after receiving his award

 

Employment Program Updates

Things continue to grow and evolve here at Lifetime Networks, and the Employment Program is no exception. Read on to learn about some of the exciting changes happening right now. 

Staff Changes and Additions

Congratulations to our Employment Manager, Mel MacDonald, who is starting her maternity leave this week. Mel has been overseeing the employment program for the last year in addition to her main role as Host Agency and Community Engagement Manager. With Mel leaving, Lyndsey Wheat will now be responsible for overseeing the employment program as Employment Supervisor.

Erin Smith is continuing as our Friday Class Instructor, and we will be hiring an additional member to our team in the coming weeks. This is due to the growth of the employment program, and the addition of the InclusionWorks! South Island group to the Lifetime Networks family. This new position will include job development for the InclusionWorks! group, as well as doing discoveries with new program participants and assisting with the Friday class, among other things.

Job Fair

Two weeks ago, Mel and Lyndsey attended a Support Worker Job Fair hosted by GT Hiring, to interview potential applicants for CSW and Job Coaching positions. There were some fabulous applicants, and we are excited to be bringing on two individuals from this job fair; one will be hired as a CSW/Job Coach, and the other will be starting as a volunteer working with our Friday group.

One of the additional benefits of attending the job fair was that Lyndsey was able to sit in the interviewer’s seat for a change! This gave her a chance to assess the candidates first hand on their interview preparedness. Some people made a great first impression, while others were not nearly as prepared as they could have been. This provided some great insights to bring back to our job seekers about how to prepare for interviews.

Friday Employment Class

It’s an exciting time for our Friday group. We have begun to roll in our new class structure, which involves morning structured lessons and afternoon goal-oriented, facilitated work time.

Last Friday, each participant had a personal goal-setting meeting with the Erin and Lyndsey. During these meetings, each participant discussed their goals related to employment. Our current participants are all focused on finding volunteer or paid work positions, or on developing their job skills. Each person came out of their meeting with a definite goal and steps laid out to get them there.

This personal goal planning will really help to add new motivation and enthusiasm to our Friday class!

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Some of the Friday participants starting their morning by reviewing current events

Guest Posts – Coming Soon! 

Stay Tuned for some guest blog posts by our very own Eric De Loor! One of Eric’s employment goals is to continue to develop his writing skills, and what better way than to become a guest contributor on our Employment Blog! Eric will work with Lyndsey, the blog’s creator, to plan and submit some new content in the coming month. Keep your eye on the Lifetime Networks Facebook Page so you don’t miss it!

 

Wondering what our Employment Program is all about? Read this!

Our employment program is here to help individuals work on their employability skills and find valued, paid work in their communities. We have two main program streams to allow us to work with individuals at all levels of employment readiness.

Customized Employment Services are for individuals facing barriers to finding or keeping employment. Individuals accepted into this program have already reached a certain level of job readiness, and are ready to jump into the work force. We work through an intensive Discovery process with individuals to identify their strengths, abilities, and barriers. Once this is complete, our employment facilitator works with the individual to identify possible employment opportunities in the community, and to help customize or carve out a position that will best utilize the strengths of the individual. Once a job is found, the individual is provided with a job coach to assist with on-site training and support.

For individuals who are exploring the idea of employment for the first time, or who need a little extra help to work towards their employment goals, we offer a full day employment workshop. This Friday workshop focuses on teaching basic employment-related skills in a facilitated classroom environment. For some individuals, this can be a stepping-stone to prepare for Customised Employment Services. Half of the day is lesson-based, covering topics ranging from budgeting, to resume writing, to social skills. The other half of the day is goal focused. The instructors work with each individual to identify and progress towards their goals, which could include finding volunteer opportunities, building personal networks, or learning and practicing specific skills.

If you are interested in learning more about employment, contact Lyndsey at lyndsey@Lnv.ca

New Year, New Understanding

To start off the new year, our Tuesday workshop group has been delving into the topic of self-acceptance. This has involved several lessons exploring who we are as individuals, and how we view ourselves and others. This exploration was aided in part by a learning module written by noted author and self-advocate Dave Hingsburger.

Our group took this journey together over the last few weeks, surrounded by the safety and comfort of our friends.

Discovering Who I Am

The first step of this process was realizing how important it is to be honest with ourselves about who we are. This includes the difficult task of acknowledging and accepting our shortcomings along with our strengthsonce-we-accept-our-limits-we-go-beyond-them-albert-einstein-333x500

For some of us, this brought up painful memories of being bullied and treated differently. That’s why step two is so important: understanding that although words can be used to describe a person, they do not tell us anything about who a person is.

For example, the word “disabled” can be used to describe a person with a disability, but it doesn’t tell us anything about who the person is. It doesn’t tell us about the person’s sense of humor, their interests, their hopes, their fears, their love for their family and friends, or their worth as a human being.

The word “disabled” tells us just one thing: that a person has a disability.

Accepting Who I Am

The third step, and perhaps the hardest step, is to separate the words we use from the hidden (or not so hidden) meanings that society places on them.

8986294eae18dc91784523c894a963edWe are constantly bombarded with media messages telling us that we are not good enough. Even if you manage to avoid seeing and hearing these messages, they still find their way into our lives through the feelings and attitudes of the people around us. These messages attach themselves to words that are then used to hurt us.

The word “fat” describes someone who is overweight.
But when we use “fat” as an insult we are saying that what it really means is “bad”, “lesser”, “unattractive” and “unlovable”. Obviously this is not the definition of “fat”. By removing these added meanings, we take away the power of these words to bring us down. We become able to look at ourselves in the mirror and say: “I am fat. That is a part of who I am, and I like myself.”

Similarly, the word “disabled” doesn’t mean “stupid”, “lazy”, “weird” or “unworthy”. It means: “I am a person with a disability. That is a part of who I am. There are also many other parts that make up who I am. I am unique. I know myself. I accept myself. I like myself.”

Expressing Who I Am

After learning abistock_000019378179smallout the importance of accepting yourself for who you are, and how that leads to improved self-esteem and happiness, our group took a closer look at some of the things that make us who we are, including our beliefs and values.

We ended our lesson with a positive affirmation activity, where each person wrote their own personal vision statement about what they are trying to achieve. This is a broad, inspirational message encompassing their personal values.

Take a look at some of the fantastic vision statements the group came up with to express their personal goals and values:

I will look out for people more often.
– Brent

I will stay connected to my family and help them as much as I can.
– Karen

Forwards until death.
– Rodi

I will make the world a better place for everyone, one step at a time.
– Eric

 

Don’t give up on your job search, especially during the holidays!

Many people look at the holidays as a slow hiring season; Things get busy, seasonal positions have been filled, and no one has time to spend on hiring. Because of this, many job seekers take a break from job searching over the holiday season. Don’t fall into this trap! Job searching is a full time job, and taking time off for the holidays can be a big set-back. Instead, use this time to get ahead!

Here are some reasons to continue your job search all through the holidays season:

  1. Other job seekers are taking time off. This means less competition for you! Fewer resumes in the pile means a better chance for you to stand out from the crowd. Take advantage of this time that other job seekers are using as a holiday break and get yourself out there!
  2. Some people actually quit their jobs this time of year, thinking they will take time off and then start fresh in the new year. Their loss is your gain! When these vacancies open up, make sure your resume is ready and waiting on the hiring managers desk.
  3. Large companies may be scrambling to use their leftover hiring budgets before the end of the year. This means hiring for as many positions as possible before the holidays are over.
  4. Some hiring managers might be trying to tie up loose ends before the new year. This means filling any vacant positions before the end of the year. This also means that hiring managers may be easier to get a hold of at this time of year. They already have to make themselves available for any seasonal hiring that is happening. They could be more likely to take your call this time of year.
  5. Don’t discount seasonal positions! These temporary jobs can be your way in to a more permanent position. If you impress people with your fabulous work ethic and skills in a seasonal position, you will greatly increase your chances of being brought on for a permanent position when one becomes available.
  6. Take advantage of people’s “holiday cheer”! Let’s face it – many people tend to be kinder and more cheerful around the holidays. Use this to your advantage! Employers who are possessed  by that jolly holiday spirit may have a harder time saying no when you are asking for that interview.
  7. NETWORKING!!! I cannot stress this enough. Networking is such a crucial part of your job search. Finding a job can be as much about who you know as what you know. ‘Tis the season of holiday parties, so hit up all the office, family, and community events you can! You never know who might end up throwing you a lead. Talk to people about your job search, ask questions, and build personal connections. Just make sure to dress professionally, and avoid over-indulging in alcohol.

Good Luck!

How well do you know the Employment Standards Act? (Quiz)

Understanding employment standards when you are a job seeker or someone who is new to the workforce can be a daunting task. It’s a good thing that knowing all of the legal ins-and-outs of employment is your employer’s responsibility, right?
Wrong!
It is very important that you know your rights as a worker in BC. If you rely solely on others to know and respect your rights for you, you could find yourself being treated unfairly. Some employers may not be well versed in the Employment Standards Act. And even worse, occasionally an employer may try to manipulate the Act or take advantage of your ignorance.

Have a read through the following six  (6) scenarios and test how well you understand BC’s basic employment standards.

Jane works as a cashier, and has to balance her till at the end of each shift. Normally Jane’s till balances, but sometimes she is over or under by a couple of dollars. This is considered acceptable by her employer, especially on busy sale days when Jane is serving long lines of customers. After an especially busy sale day, Jane counts her till and discovers that she is under by $60. Jane’s employer tells her that he is going to deduct the missing amount from her next paycheck. Jane feels this is unfair.
This is fair
This is unfair
Jane is right! A cash shortage, even as a result of cashier error, is considered a cost of doing business. An employer may not make any unauthorized deductions from an employee’s wages. If an employee has continual cash shortfalls, the employee may be terminated, but the employer cannot recover any lost revenue from the employee.
Learn more: Section 21 – Deductions

Jerry is scheduled to work a 4 hour shift on Tuesday. When he arrives for his shift, his manager tells him that they don’t have any work for him to do that day, so Jerry goes home. When Jerry gets his paycheck, he notices that he wasn’t paid for his shift on Tuesday. His employer tells Jerry that because he was sent home, he didn’t work and therefore wouldn’t get paid. Jerry tells his employer that because he showed up for work, he should still get paid.
He should be paid
Jerry gets paid, but only for two hours of his shift. If an employee shows up for a regularly scheduled shift and there is no work available, the employer is required to pay two hours of wages to the employee for that shift. If the employee is sent home for another reason, such as being unfit to work, the employer is not required to pay the employee.
He shouldn’t be paid
Learn more: Section 34 – Minimum daily hours

Jennifer gets a job as a dishwasher in a busy restaurant. Jennifer works an 8 hour shift, and gets a half hour break for lunch half way through her shift. Jennifer is a smoker so she also goes out for a smoke break a couple of times during each shift. One day there is a spill in the kitchen, and the Chef calls Jennifer over to clean it up. Jennifer is not at her post, and instead the Chef finds her outside having a cigarette. The Chef tells her that she is not allowed to take smoke breaks, and if he catches her again, he will have to write her up. Jennifer argues back that she has a right to take smoke breaks because she is working an 8 hour shift with only a lunch break provided.
A smoke break is a right
A smoke break is a privilege
An employee must not work more than 5 consecutive hours without a 1/2 hour meal break. Some employers choose to give their employees coffee breaks or smoke breaks, but this is not a requirement.
Learn more: Section 32 – Meal breaks

Jared has just started a new job, and has been working full time for two weeks. Jared is given a day off for a Statutory holiday, but notices that he didn’t receive payment for the stat on his next paycheck. Jared is confused because he thought that all full time workers would receive stat pay.
He should get stat pay
He should not get stat pay
Because Jared had only been working for two weeks prior to the statutory holiday, he is not eligible for stat pay. Anyone, full or part time, who is employed for at least 30 days of the month prior to the stat, and works for at least 15 of those days, will be eligible to receive stat pay.
Learn more: Part 5 – Statutory Holidays

Jessica works as a waitress and is often asked to work split shifts to cover breakfast and dinner. The breakfast shift is from 7 am to 11 am. The dinner shift begins at 5 pm and often goes until 9 pm. Jessica thinks that she should be getting overtime pay because her split shift stretches over 14 hours. Jessica’s employer disagrees, because she is only working a total of 8 hours a day.
She should get overtime pay
She should not get overtime pay
This is a tricky one! Because Jessica is only working 8 hours in total, she is not entitled to overtime pay from her employer. However, by scheduling Jessica to work a split shift starting at 7 am and ending at 9 pm, Jessica’s employer is actually in violation of the Employment Standards Act, which says that a split shift must be completed within 12 hours of starting work.
Learn more: Section 33 – Split shifts
Section 35 – Maximum hours of work before overtime applies

John has a newborn baby at home, and has applied for parental leave. His store manager tells John that if he goes on leave he will not be able to come back to the same position he has now. The manager says it is not normal for men to take parental leave, and suggests that it would be better if John’s wife took the leave instead. John calls head office and reports his store manager for discrimination, saying his employee rights are being violated.
This is discrimination
A pregnant employee is entitled to up to 17 weeks of pregnancy leave, plus an additional 35 weeks of parental leave. A parent other than the one who gave birth (including an adoptive parent) can take parental leave instead of the birth parent, and is entitled to 37 weeks of unpaid leave. This means that it is within John’s right to go on parental leave, and his manager is required to secure his position for when he returns from leave. It is discrimination for John to be denied leave or to lose his job simply because his manager does not believe men should take parental leave.
This is not discrimination
Learn more: Section 51 – Parental leave
Read more about discrimination in the BC Human Rights Code: Human Rights Code, Section 13 – Discrimination in employment

Face-To-Face: LNV job seekers given a chance to practice their interview skills.

Yesterday, two of our job seekers attended the Face-to-Face event hosted by GT Hiring and Garth Homer Society. This was a fantastic event that allowed job seekers to connect with real employers to practice their interview skills.

Sarah and Karen both attended and had practice interviews with three employers each. They were able to receive feedback from each employer following the interview. Interviewers were very impressed by Sarah’s excellent eye contact during her practice interviews. And Karen blew her interviewers away with her positive, eager personality.

Some of the great tips that came out of the event included:

  1. Dress for success – always show up to an interview in proper interview clothing, and be sure to practice good hygiene!
  2. Watch your  body language – one comment that kept coming up during feedback from employers was to make sure you were making eye contact! Good, attentive posture and a handshake are important for making a good impression.
  3. Bring an extra copy of your resume – although these were not real interviews, job seekers were still encouraged to bring copies of their resumes. If the employer asks to see your resume, you want to have a copy ready to hand them.
  4. Rehearse your answers until you are bored of them – This advice came from CLBC facilitator Patrick Jobe, who emphasized the importance of preparation. You can never be too rehearsed for an interview. Practice your answers to some common questions, and keep practicing until your responses become second nature to you.
  5. Be confident – This is perhaps the most important piece of advice for job seekers approaching interviews. If you present yourself confidently, the employer is going to have more confidence in you!

Remember, everyone gets nervous, and that’s okay! Don’t let it stop you from getting out there and rocking that interview!

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Karen and Sarah are all smiles at the Face-To-Face event.

Fall Employment Program Update

Things have been busy here in the Lifetime Networks Employment program!

We had a rush of new intakes to our program in September, as everyone got into the back-to-school/back-to-work spirit! As these new job seekers work their way through the Discovery process, our more established program participants are working hard at developing their job skills.

Our Tuesday Workshop group will be exploring employment topics  over the next couple months with the help of Open Future Learning, a staff training tool that also allows for side-by-side learning between staff and participants. Meanwhile, our full day Friday group will continue to focus on pre-employment and job readiness skills under the guidance of our fantastic employment instructors.

We are pleased to share that all of this hard work is paying off! Amanda recently found a job at Subway and Jeff has just begun working for Tim Hortons. After a summer of training  and volunteering at Cascadia Martial Arts, Nicholas is now a Taekwondo instructor.

Kudos to you three, and to all of our other employed/unemployed job seekers!

It’s been a fun Fall season so far, and we look forward to everything Winter will bring.

 

 

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Roll for Initiative: Update

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Congratulations to Brandon, who has taken the exciting step of officially licensing his business, “Brandon Campbell-Moore’s Roll for Initiative.”

We have featured Brandon on our blog before, and we wanted to share this exciting update! Brandon hosts monthly Dungeons and Dragons gaming events, where players can pay a small fee to come and join in the game.

Lifetime Networks is happy to partner with Brandon to allow him to host his events in our space. In return, Brandon volunteers in our Ambassador program, and helps to represent Lifetime Networks in the community.

Starting next month, Brandon is expanding his event to include an additional weekend event each month! That means there are now three chances – one Monday and two Saturdays – to come and play Dungeons and Dragons each month.

To purchase tickets for upcoming events, go to http://www.rollforinitiative.ca/ or talk to Brandon! New players are always welcome!

Job Fair November 2, 2016

Only two weeks until the next big WorkBC Job Fair in Victoria!

Hosted by GT Hiring Solutions, the job fair will take place on Wednesday, November 2 at the Central Baptist Church in downtown Victoria.

Come on down between 10 am and 2 pm to meet with over 50 employers who will be onsite and looking to hire!

This year, Lifetime Networks will be running the coat check at this event. Check your coats and umbrellas with our hard working and dedicated job seekers when you arrive, leaving your arms free to carry resumes and shake hands with employers!
Coat check by donation.

Planning on attending? Follow this link to get your free priority pass and bypass those lineups!

Remember to dress in your interview best! Bring copies of your resume and be prepared to chat with employers on the spot. Speak clearly, make eye contact, and smile, and you will be sure to leave a lasting good impression!