Employment Preparation Workshop

The workshop graduation class.

These are the happy graduates of a 36-hour workshop on employment preparation for people with disability, just completed in Bucaramanga.  Craig Baskett, Program Administrator of the Transitional Vocational Program, Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension, Mount Royal University (MRU), led us step by step through their program of academic preparation, practical experience and support in the workplace.

Craig explains the MRU model with the help of a translator, Leidy, a University student..

The goal was to learn about the model used in Calgary and adapt it to the local context. Employment inclusion is an important issue for people with disability.  CAJASAN a national employment agency, has implemented a strategy but with limited success. Motivation to hear Craig’s presentation was high.

The workshop was organized by FANDIC, CAJASAN, and the Disability Network. It was sponsored by CAPD, MRU and the Rotary Club of Calgary South. Attendees included academics from universities as well as leaders from each of the three entities listed above.

A work group composed of CAJASAN employees and one academic.

The attendees worked in groups to grapple with the adaptation of the MRU model to the local context. The knowledge and experience of each person melded together to create a new vision for inclusive employment.

There were times of reflection:

Monica, academic researcher, reflects on what had been said.

Presentations on their work was made:

Alberto spoke through a sign language interpreter.
Alexander presents on material he is not able to see but is firmly lodged in memory.

They answered questions from the group:

Carol from CAJASAN speaks from her experience in employment inclusion.

Craig provided lots of constructive feedback.

There was lots of discussion:

Danilo, psychologist, is keen to work in the field of inclusive employment.

 

Olga, expresses her vision based on experience with fANDIC and the Disability Network.

And we enjoyed our social time at lunch.

Typical Colombian food and conversation made an excellent pairing.

Then it was back to work until we reached the goal – The first draft of an inclusive employment strategy for Bucaramanga.

Martha (left), Maria (middle) and Adele (right) with their certificates.

Craig was very pleased with the gift presented to him as was I. We were all in a jovial mood by the end.

Besides the workshop, Craig had an evening lecture for the public at large and another presentation to people attending the disability network meeting. Both meetings were very well attended.

We also visited two businesses that were already employing people with auditory limitations. One of these was a beauty salon, where we were given a free manicure!

Our very competent manicurists were both women with no hearing. How did we communicate? Not a problem.

Craig left somewhat exhausted but pleased with the outcome. He knew the workshop had met its goal after seeing the final presentations. The work groups were right on target!

Thank you to Craig, workshop organizers, and sponsors for providing this opportunity to advance inclusive employment in Bucaramanga.

Marlene