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Virtual office training course at Douglas College helps struggling youth get jobs

Eligible youth who are accepted into the customer service digital literacy program will learn technical skills needed to work in a variety of administrative and customer service occupations; Douglas College has received funding to provide the program virtually
Office program Getty Images
Douglas College has received funding to provide skills and certification courses virtually.

A program to help young people — including immigrant youth — learn data entry and other office skills for jobs in the Tri-Cities is getting a huge boost from the provincial government.

Funding in the amount of $385,000 is being provided to Douglas College to enable the Coquitlam and New Westminster-based institution deliver skills and certification courses virtually as part of its customer service/digital skills training program.

Up to 36 eligible British Columbians will get skills training, in three separate intakes, to prepare them for jobs in customer service and office administration in the Lower Mainland.

The students will include youth, Indigenous people, immigrants and individuals with multiple barriers to employment.

Participants will receive 11 weeks of essential and occupational skills training, four weeks of on-the-job work experience and two weeks' followup support to assist in their job search. 

They will also receive certification courses in basic computer skills, Microsoft Office 365: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Adobe Acrobat/Reader and SuperHost, as well as diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Graduates of Douglas College’s Virtual Customer Service/Digital Skills Program will be qualified to work as administrative officers, data entry clerks, office support workers, call centre workers and sales representatives.

"Our employer networks are consistently seeking staff with high levels of digital literacy, complex problem-solving and customer service skills," said Pamela Tetarenko, associate director of the training group at Douglas College. 

"These transferable skills are the focus of the customer service digital literacy program designed to equip participants with the technical and social-emotional skills needed to achieve work in a variety of administrative/customer service occupations."

Online learning for the first intake of this project will start on June 14. 

Project activities run through to Oct. 8. Anyone interested in finding out more about this or other CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.

Find your local WorkBC centre here:

This is a new Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project from the government of British Columbia, which invests $15 million annually in communities to provide training and work experience for job seekers whiles helping businesses and communities address labour market challenges.

This latest investment is seen as a way to support B.C.’s post pandemic recovery, according to a press release.

"Building a recovery from the pandemic that works for everyone is something that we are focused on as a government," said Fin Donnelly, MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. "Graduates of this program will be in a position to find good jobs that help them support themselves, their families and their communities. I wish them all the best in their studies."