In many parts of Canada, because of labor shortages or unfilled jobs, the field of employment support may be (if not already) much in demand. It also often receives media coverage and several large innovative companies view it as a solution to shortages. Great news for job seekers who are far from the labor market, employers and communities. It’s also good news for the entire employment support network in Canada. However, even though the support provided by professionals connected to the field is outstanding and changes lives, it’s not always well-recognized, and sometimes resources are lacking.
Employment support professionals, such as employment counselors, career counselors, occupational therapists, employers, human resources professionals, health professionals, rehabilitation professionals, educators or others started in the field with very little knowledge. Right now, professionals aren’t trained at supporting all types of disabilities, because each need is unique and requires unique solutions. I recently heard about a maple production adaptation project. It’s not the kind of story we hear about very often!
Every time a job seeker needs support, a professional starts from square one, which calls for a lot of creativity, good listening skills and extensive and regular upgrading of one’s knowledge of the labour market, provincial and federal laws and programs, employers’ needs, as well as great emotional intelligence. In short, the field of employment support is a specialty developed by the various stakeholders as part of a career path, a continuous apprenticeship that requires a lot of perseverance, because it’s very much the road less travelled. Truly heroic work, relatively unknown.
The fact that employers are inquiring more and more about employment support professional services and frequently exposing the field in the media is opportunity knocking. If it’s not already in your area, a step toward official recognition of the specialty work would advance the development of training, tools, certifications, etc. In fact, you may have sensed the winds are already shifting with networks, discussion forums, communities, and organizations popping up. They are directly and indirectly rallying around subject, helping each other with knowledge transfer, tools and locally developed training. Bridges are being built. The collective knowledge is an incredible opportunity to lay the specialty’s foundations, in terms of best practices.
Let’s continue to showcase the excellent work of employment support professionals. They are heroes by virtue of their dedication and perseverance at constantly finding new solutions. However, be careful, even if we manage to get them the recognition and tools they deserve to make their work easier, it’s important to always keep in mind that each person is unique, and it remains our duty to offer job seekers equally unique solutions.
A collaboration of Caroline Pouliot, Communications Coordinator, SPHERE.
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