Contact North offers a variety of free training and education opportunities

LISTOWEL – Contact North’s Listowel Center at The Village Table at 295 Main St. W. opens many doors to locals by providing access to training and education opportunities.

“I would say that Contact North is unparalleled in Ontario for its training and education knowledge,” said Jeffrey Scholl, education and training advisor. “If someone is looking for a skill, certificate, diploma, or opportunity to improve academically or professionally, Contact North is a one-stop shop to find out what works best for you.”

He points out that while many of Contact North’s offerings are free, fees will apply if you are enrolled in a college or university program.

“We’re helping people find full college programs,” he said. “We’ll help you fill out your applications. We help them find grants and OSAP. We have a legitimate interest in promoting people and training people, but we are not cheap to any organization. ”

Contact North’s mandate is to serve people in small communities who are disadvantaged.

“It’s not often that you’re as completely altruistic as we are at Contact North,” said Scholl. “I love that part.”

Contact North is funded by the Department for Colleges and Universities.

“We have this insanely strong knowledge of everything that exists, and there is a lot of free content published by colleges and universities that nobody knows about,” he said.

Scholl has assisted the Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance and the North Perth Community in providing training to employees through LinkedIn Learning accounts and free college courses that are granted.

“There was a community skills accelerator granted by the Department of Labor and Education so they were middle-to-high management courses that were completely free for everyone,” he said. “You have no way of promoting it, and most of the people here have never heard of Northern College.”

North Perth employees completed a number of courses related to finance and management.

Lambton College also offers many free credits, which Scholl said includes a series of eight courses on Justice and Diversity. When he announced the courses available to the LWHA, they became interested in the Justice and Diversity series because they wanted to spend approximately $ 10,000 on similar training courses for staff.

Contact North offers LinkedIn Learning for free through partnerships with library systems across the province.

“The amount of material on the site is incredible,” he said. “In addition to the amount of material on the website, Contact North can sit down with anyone and create a custom learning path to ensure they are getting the most out of the software.”

One of the most sought-after training courses for employees in local hospitals has been customer service. “You are dealing with people who come from the street,” said Scholl.

“They are the ones who have to ask for vaccination records. You have to insist on putting on a mask. You’re dealing with people who are angry because their kids are in the hospital, so there are some really good courses on how to de-escalate customer service situations and deal with angry customers. ”

Contact North’s way of working is not teaching, but looking for training and education opportunities.

“We have this collection of data and material that is second to none,” said Scholl. “Everything runs online with us. If it is not available online we will still help people connect with it if we can, but our mission is to try to help people find content online to improve the education in their community improve.”

In the Listowel Center they offer all students who are working on a training course computer and WLAN access.

“We have computers that people can use completely free of charge, and we also oversee exams for the colleges and universities,” he said. “Suppose someone takes a nippissing nursing exam and takes it entirely online. Nippissing would let us know the student is coming. Nippissing would send us the exam. We would oversee the exam for the student and then send that exam back to Nippissing.

“This service is all free.”

They haven’t been offering the physical computers in Listowel until August or later summer, but Scholl said he has supported Listowel for four years and Contact North has supported the area for 46 years.

“But the thing is again, nobody knows who we are,” he said. “Another big role I have, Partners in Employment, will be referring clients to me to improve their skills. I will meet with this customer and prepare him with the skills training. ”

For those interested in a high school degree, Contact North works with multiple school boards across the province to provide free opportunities to earn full Ontario Secondary School diplomas.

“When someone is trying to get a grip on their life and get their high school, they usually don’t have the $ 500 to toss and survive,” Scholl said. “That’s pretty much where we are now… so it’s really hard for people to grapple with the kaleidoscope of opportunities that Contact North has to offer. It’s phenomenal. ”

To get in touch with us, send an email to [email protected]

“All people have to do is send an email telling them what training they want to find out about,” he said. “We’ll do our best to find something that fits this shape.”

The Listowel Center is open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment

“There are currently no walk-ins due to COVID regulations,” he said. “Masks are required and Contact North has a free screening tool to make sure no people with COVID symptoms come in.”

After Scholl added those caveats, he noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had some silver lining for distance learning and educational opportunities.

“The many things we have been told over the years could never be online, COVID has proven that is not true,” he said. “It’s amazing when you have to shut down your entire organization to find out that – well, maybe this could have gone online … not anymore.”

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