Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board - Here to Help

April 27, 2021
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Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board

SMWDB is a community directed, non-profit corporation, 1 of 26 local planning board areas funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD).  To remain in touch with the needs and issues of each community, SMWDB conducts community consultations and an annual employer survey to provide forums to hear concerns and to assist in finding grassroots solutions to specific employment and training challenges in different employment areas.

​​Learn more about how the SMWDB helps Employers, Employment Seekers and Community Organizations

​Current Programs:

Soft Skills Solutions© for Employers (available online)

The SMWDB Soft Skills Solutions© program has met with excellent acceptance since its implementation in 2017. Over 950 facilitators have been trained province-wide to deliver the program to a wide variety of employment service professionals, adult upgrading and community service organizations.

The five SSS© modules cover:

  • Workplace Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Personal Management
  • Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
  • Professional and Skills Advancement

Training current employees in soft skills helps improve work performance, retention, teamwork, staff morale and profits. SSS© is designed to help people enhance overall work habits and interact better with others. The program focuses on professionalism, and what it means to be successful in today’s workplace.

While originally developed to enhance employability skills for job seekers, we received feedback directly from employers that the program would be of interest to them for their current staff in order to enhance productivity and improve employees’ skill sets. With this in mind, we developed SSS© for Employers. This version of the program allows employers to select the SSS© modules and content that will meet their specific needs.

Since the onset of COVID-19, SSS© for Employers is available in an online delivery model.  For more information on Soft Skills Solutions© content, please go to https://www.smwdb.com/soft-skills-solutions.

To discuss your specific SSS© training needs, please contact Lead Trainer, Samantha Timbers: 905-830-4749 or [email protected].

Foundational Assessment for Skilled Trades (FAST)

FAST is based on the original Evaluating Academic Readiness for Apprenticeship Training or EARAT that was developed to provide a pre-apprenticeship evaluation for students planning to enter any of 46 skilled trades. EARAT was designed with the purpose of setting the student up for success by identifying material within three academic skills (Math, Concepts of Science and Communications) that the student may be struggling with and could benefit from additional support and learning resources.  These materials have remained popular and in use since that time.

In consultation with area Ontario Youth Apprenticeship (OYAP) Coordinators and Apprenticeship Facilitators at Georgian College, we selected the most in-demand 21 trades and converted the paper-based content into an interactive online platform.  We then changed the name to FAST or Foundational Assessment for Skilled Trades.

With the renewed emphasis on the promotion of skilled trades in Ontario, FAST provides an excellent resource for educators and employment service providers (to name just two) to help potential apprentices prepare for successful completion of their training. Employers are now interested in understanding how the FAST platform may benefit them in assessment and recruitment or as part of their internal advancement program. For example, discussions are currently underway between Georgian College and a large area manufacturer to assess its suitability in their hiring for targeted trades.

For more information on FAST, please contact Rob Shepard, SMWDB Project Facilitator: [email protected]. For a list of the available trade assessments within FAST, please go to https://www.readyfortrades.ca

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Copyright Venture Muskoka 2021. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Explorers' Edge in the provision of select photographic images.