Train for Trades uses an Intensive Support Model (ISM) to provide 24/7 support to existing (and past) participants. During the day, support is provided by the Youth Support Worker on the job site and by the Youth Supports Coordinator as needed for non-job related issues (access to appointments, advocacy, support with criminal justice system/health/child welfare etc.)
“If you had a medical appointment, if you had court for some reason, or family court, dentist, doctor, food bank, any of those things. If you were [working] somewhere else you would probably have to do that before work or after work or you would probably lose your job over it. If you got three court appointments in a month, your employer is probably going to say ‘I don’t need you cause you’re losing too much time’. For our support program if you have…something that you need to deal with, we’re gonna support you here, and we’re gonna provide a ride to the doctor, pick up from the doctor.” — Joni King, Youth Support Worker, Train for Trades
Support, beyond addressing personal issues, also includes help applying for funding for school or for school itself (including conducting market research to determine the best program/school). T4T staff also support the youth after they are laid off from the program to apply for Employment Insurance.
In addition, staff are provided with work phones so that youth have a way of contacting them directly after hours. The support ranges from something that can be addressed in a text message or phone call to a serious issue that requires in-person staff support. A 6-week review conducted in the fall of 2013, found that there was an average of 5 or 6 calls/texts per staff each week. Staff are not paid for time spent dealing with these issues unless a significant amount of time is required, in which case they can arrange time off in lieu with approval from the Coordinator.
“If you’re looking to get on the right path, if you took a wrong turn somewhere down the road and you want to get back on the right path and be successful, it’s definitely the place to go. The huge support, the support here alone is wicked. If you have any kind of problem, anything, they’ll help you here and do whatever they’re capable of doing for you. The construction part of it, the working part of it yes, but the support here alone is wicked. It really helps you a lot.” — Dylan, age 22, Tier 3 participant, Train for Trades
Youth meet with the Youth Supports Coordinator every two weeks to check-in and follow-up on any outstanding support issues. As part of the Intensive Support Model they provide support individually on an “as-needed” basis.
If there is a need for counselling services or other support, youth can be referred internally within Choices for Youth, or externally to another youth service agency. Two youth are currently receiving in-house counselling through Choices for Youth.