The Bridges Employment Program’s fundamental goal is to help women break the cycle of abuse and trauma through education and employment training. Our Victoria campus helps women identify their interests and skills to develop long-term career goals.
Bridges vital strengths help participants end isolation, learn & support each other in a classroom setting, and learn how to build their own personal & community supports – skills that last a lifetime!
This is a flexible and accessible program for women with many demands on their energy. For example, if a woman has family responsibilities and health care issues, our continuous intake process helps her to find the information and support she requires for “her unique situation”.
We offer personal development and employment skills workshops, which include guest lecturers and field trips. Our Bridging Curriculum has six main categories:
Addressing Histories of Abuse
This part of the curriculum focuses on recognizing, understanding and overcoming the impacts of abuse on employment. Participants work on self-esteem, values and self-advocacy, communication, assertiveness, conflict resolution skills, and learning to set and keep boundaries.
Each student develops individual short-term goals and action steps that support their immediate and long-term work towards personal and economic independence. Students have the opportunity to focus their energies on these plans, and achieve concrete, measurable successes that support their pre-employment process at Bridges.
Counselling & Coaching
Our students are required to receive 10 hours of professional group and individual counselling as an integral part of their personal development. This work will increase a students safety and connection to community resources, teach skills on how to break out of the cycle of trauma and addictions, will honour old ways of coping and teach women how to reframe the effects of trauma in order to reconstruct a long standing identity of courage and intelligence. We presently offer an 8 week group that covers various counselling areas.
Students learn to assess their skills, strengths, previous experiences, preferences, learning styles and passions. This includes the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and development of resume building blocks, job search skills and cover letters. The program builds upon their creative visioning projects to develop a long-term, sustainable career vision that promotes successful, permanent labour force attachment.
Attending Bridges provides students with an opportunity to practice essential workplace skills. Expectations of daily punctual attendance, goal setting and other workplace norms are maintained in a supportive learning environment that develops students’ abilities to function successfully in the workplace. As well, teamwork, interpersonal skills, building good oral communication skills, presentation skills and small team project work are developed throughout the program.
Many participants take advantage of Bridges’ partnership with Camosun College to earn academic credit for English upgrading and Introductory Computer courses. Bridges curriculum includes business and creative writing and practice with basic computer skills, including individual instruction. Each participant approaches computer learning differently, depending on skill level and interests. Participants who have never used a computer are welcome, as are those with more advanced skills.