Employment & Training Upgrade – Part Two

Yesterday, I began the discussion of revamping the Indigenous Employment & Training model (a model I am familiar with, having dedicated 20 years of my career to such initiatives). But there is another piece that must be altered, and that could simply be identified as “the focus”.

Current model – train an individual for the workforce.

Improved model – train a family for the workforce.

You see, many Indigenous cultures are based on the family unit, not the individual. Father and mother are seen as needed components and with a history of broken homes, many new families will do anything to maintain the 2-parent home.

With that in mind, it must be realized that removing a spouse from the home for training or even work essentially renders the remaining partner a single parent, alone to deal with the household and the children. This can be the worst nightmare of both partners and often goes against the cultural values of the community or nation.

Further, the size of a paycheque or the potential for future financial gains does little to change this. After all, it is hard to imagine financial affluence when you have never seen it. A broken home, however, is all too easy to imagine.

BUT … what if employment and training initiatives involved support for the remaining partner, help with time management, parenting, budgeting, and the like. Respite care is even a possibility along with just having a supportive voice on the phone or internet to talk to, ensuring time apart doesn’t seem so lonely or overwhelming for the one at home.

The options are endless as the home parent adjusts and perhaps even comes to embrace the idea of an employed spouse who must be away for periods of time.

By making employment a positive for both partners, you eliminate the calls from home begging the worker to quit. And by respecting cultural values, retention rates finally have a chance to grow.

The journey continues …

I love you!