Monday, April 24, 2023
Custodial Training Program opening doors for students
As the inaugural class of Near North District School Board’s (NNDSB) Custodial Services Training program nears graduation, students and staff are brimming with enthusiasm for what the future holds.
The result of a collaborative effort between NNDSB and community partners District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB) and Yes Employment Services, this innovative program is one of just a few such courses offered in the province and the only one in the region.
DNSSAB Chair Mark King said, “The District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board is pleased to support, and partner with, the Near North District School Board’s Custodial Training Services program. Employment training programs such as these assist individuals with gaining a solid foundation of relevant skills and training to attach to the labour market, improve their self-esteem and overall well-being, and help reduce social assistance dependency by providing educational pathways out of poverty. These programs also have the potential to assist in filling gaps in the local labour market.”
The program is open to individuals 18 and older, and those without a Grade 12 diploma can earn up to six credits while training to be a custodian. Students engage in theoretical learning in a classroom and then apply their new skills in a school environment.
Student Rayanne Doyle found the program on Facebook and signed up two weeks before it started. A high school graduate with training in carpentry, Doyle thought the program would add to her knowledge and skill set and be a good entry on her resume.
“I like it, I’ve been here every day. I’m motivated to get up early and come to class. It’s good for women because some of us don’t have self-confidence and this builds it,” Doyle said. “I’ve never used any of the tools we use here and the instructor, Deborah Lamb, is really nice and a good teacher. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, this will build it up for you. It gets you motivated to do something, and it also helps with the community.”
Fellow student Charlie Reynolds always wanted to be a custodian when he was younger. “They were always like a buddy at school, and I wanted to be one of those guys,” Reynolds said.
“The learning atmosphere is great; Mrs. Lamb is a great instructor and I’ve learned a lot. It’s great to come here, I’m having a great time,” Reynolds said. “The vast variety of stuff that I’m learning has been a highlight. I’ve learned CPR, first aid, working from heights, all the coronavirus stuff and how to stay safe.”
Reynolds said he think his job prospects upon graduation will be good as he intends on pursuing a custodial career and hopefully work at an NNDSB school.
“I think it’s worth the time for other people to take the course, you learn a lot, it’s a great atmosphere and a lot of good people,” Reynolds said.
Custodial Services Training Program instructor Deborah Lamb has worked in the industry since 1996 and progressed from a casual worker with NNDSB to facilities supervisor and is now teaching the next generation.
“Being a custodian is a job with a tremendous amount of variety, it’s not just cleaning. These students have learned about the boiler room, the security system, the fire suppression system, we’ve talked about timers, lights and shades,” Lamb said. “Cleaning is a big part of being a custodian but there is so much more. Anyone looking for a job that’s hands-on, physical, and varied this is a great career. There are plenty of places to go.”
Lamb is proud to be a part of this unique program and considers herself and her colleagues fortunate to work at NNDSB. She notes that many board staff have contributed to the success of the program from secondary program coordinator Lisa Spencer to the facilities supervisors who contributed equipment and supplies and human resources staff who instructed students in resume writing and mock interviews it has been a collaborative effort.
The Custodial Services Training Program, along with the NNDSB’s Personal Support Worker (PSW) program and other initiatives, is part of the board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) strategy by providing innovative future-oriented learning experiences that promote student achievement and well-being including adult re-engagement programs.
“I highly recommend the course to people who are interested,” said Doyle. “It helps you progress; you have doors opened to you that never used to be. It’s really good to get into, if you think every door is shutting in your face, come here and you’ll see doors open.”