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New Applied Business Support Program starting in Kitimat

Northwest Community Colleges newest program, Applied Business Support (ABS), will be offered in Kitimat in February, for students looking to enter or re-enter the workforce. The ABS program was developed in response to demand from our local business community for workers with basic employability skills, states program coordinator Ann Marie Merkel. The Program provides students with the personal and professional skills employers are looking for and will help them succeed and advance in the workforce. Local businesses were consulted in the developmental phases of this new program to determine what skill sets they require in their employees. What came forward were the same skills that the Conference Board of Canada identified in their Employability Skills 2000+ initiative, which identified core skill sets employees need to acquire and maintain employment and employers require to recruit, retain and develop their work force. All employers require a base level of skills and professionalism regardless of what area of work someone enters, explains Dave OLeary, Dean of Instruction at Northwest Community College. We developed our ABS program around the Conference Board of Canadas Employability Skills 2000+ to ensure students get the training and skills employers are looking for. Employability Skills 2000+, which can also be applied and used beyond the workplace in a range of daily activities, fall into three main categories: fundamental skills, personal management skills and teamwork skills, and deal with communication, problem solving, positive attitudes and behaviours, adaptability, working with others, and science, technology and mathematics skills. The program is focused on the professionalism of business support workers and integrates the three key personal skill areas with the technical skills appropriate to working in a business setting. The addition of the Online Learner Success course helps foster the aptitude for life-long learning. Students are taught in a professional setting that recreates the work environment and reinforces the skills being learned. The Job Shadowing/Mentoring part of the program places students in areal working environment, providing them with valuable experience and reinforcement. Graduates will have the skills required for entry level employment in office and other business settings or continuation into other NWCC business programs such as the Business Technology Online program.

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