I have been working in the eld of workplace adult education since 1995. My experience as an educator started when I was working in a manufacturing company, learning many jobs within and then training employees with an enhanced understanding of what was needed. After I started my family, I moved out and started consulting.
I have an Undergraduate Degree in Arts and the following teaching certificates: TESL (teaching English as a Second Language to Adults), the C.A.C.E. (Certificate of Adult and Continuing Education) from the University of Manitoba, certification in the Intercultural Competence Specialists Training Program, and the Essential Skills Practitioner Certificate from Workplace Education Manitoba.
I have experience in facilitating customized training in many areas including, the Essential Skills, leadership training, Diversity training, work-life balance, workplace readiness, English for the workplace, literacy, and plain language writing. I also have created customized language and Essential Skill assessments for organizations. I have been involved in several published resources and curriculum as a writer and editor.
My Unique Approach
My overarching area of expertise is making training as practical as possible and applicable to the workplace and life. My areas of expertise include diverse work environments, leadership training, helping newcomers finding success and helping Indigenous participants achieve their goals through a collaborative learning environment. I have worked in a number of sectors including manufacturing, childcare, IT, accounting, education coordination, and train the trainer.
Three Most Recent Sessions/Presentations.
Communication in the Workplace. This ve day workshop of up to 15 people empowers participants to recognize their strengths and identify areas for growth in areas such as effective communication, dealing with conflict, dealing with stress, building rapport, and effective listening. I facilitate the workshop and train other trainers to also facilitate the workshop.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) manages funding for 32 sub-agreement holder communities (about 100 employees) of the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) program. Employment and Training Coordinators work in communities with clients to access funding for training. A new database provided the framework for exploring factors that contribute to the client’s employability needs and for planning services that will meet those needs.
Coordinators requested foundational communication skills training to assist them to effectively engage clients through the needs assessment interview and planning process. This training delivery focused on Oral Communication and Working with Others for MKO Employment and Training Coordinators and Administrators in the communities.
The ve-day workshop was developed in order to provide an Essential Skills foundation for preparing to do a needs assessment with clients. The foundation of this workshop included the following Essential Skills: emphasis on Working with Others, and Oral Communication, but also with a focus on Continuous Learning and Thinking (Critical Thinking and Problem Solving)
Workplace Readiness for Refugees (not a WEM program) This program identified newcomers who came to Canada as refugees who had the lowest English language proficiency and other barriers to successful employment in Canada. After three months of language training, they participated in this three -week workplace readiness program which included workplace expectations, interview skills, Canadian workplace culture, budgeting, and safety.
In many countries, success in the workplace is about “connections” – who you know and how you are connected. In Canada, I believe that success in the workplace is about “making connections”. When employees have skills for building rapport, effectively dealing with conflict and effective small talk, they are the ones that are given the nod for other opportunities and are kept around when the company takes a downturn.
When it comes to Thinking Skills, how we think about ourselves, the world around us and our futures greatly impact our success in the workplace. We focus on strengthening so many parts of our body, but when we just let negative thoughts run “willy nilly” through our head, we let the organ in our head get “abby” and this impacts mood and behaviour and ultimately blocks us from reaching our goals.
Three Short Blogs
When WEM started meeting with a manufacturing company in Winnipeg, the supervisors were in disarray. People were actually afraid to go to the supervisor meetings because of the tension and outright conflict that went down in those meetings. The rumour mill in this sector in Winnipeg spread like wild re. “Don’t work there. The supervisors don’t get along.”
So after some needs assessment, we developed a leadership program that helped the team to bond while giving them practical skills to help them with dealing with conflict, problem-solving, critical thinking and working with others.
After the first delivery in 2014, the manager gave the following feedback: “Julie Bell did a tremendous job, she took the time to inquire about how the company operates and understood what our needs were. Where she designed a training program to t our needs.
During, and since the training, I have seen a great improvement in communication between the team that was trained, and the results were very positive. The turn-around time on samples has been reduced from weeks to days; our head office has even commented on how quick we are.
In turn, we then have received more samples and now we have hired an additional sample designer, which equates to more business.
Production throughput has increased in volume, by 1.4 %, this growth has shown our head office that we operating as a TEAM and yet again, we have been chosen to be the main focus for growth over the next 2 years.
Because of your assistance, we are to grow 37% (60Operators) on the existing footprint as quickly as possible, AND to take another door in the same building consisting of 28, 000 sqft by April of next year, where we are to again hire a minimum of 110 operators.”
When the training first started, the Winnipeg division of this company had under 200 operators. In 2018, they passed the 1000 mark.
What do workplace training courses look like? There’s a lot of training out there where “participants” do not have the opportunity to “participate”. Even if the speaker is engaging, participants may not leave the workshop with the knowledge and skills that can be immediately transferred to the workplace.
I recently took the time to really think about what would make a workplace training experience really exceptional. As I thought about it out loud with a colleague, I realized that we had different ideas about this. Furthermore, the group of learners we were working with that week seemed to have even different ideas, based on how they were reacting to the workshop.
Based on our discussion, I think that the following workplace features may take things to the “next level”.
– Everyone having a voice
– Powerful stories
– Definitions of terms
– Anecdotes and quotes
– Experiential learning
– Pen to paper – some people need to “think” with their pen
– Challenging questions
I’ve been facilitating workplace training since, 1995, and in all these years, only one person told me that she just wanted me to talk.
Workplace training is value added when you combine powerful and important content with facilitation styles that meet the varied needs of people in the group.
According to the CAMH, (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), in any given week, at least 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental health problems.
I facilitate workshops to help employees handle work and life so that they can prevent taking a mental health leave, (which at times can exasperate the situation). In one case, an educational assistant had a plan to take a stress leave. However, as she was participating in the course, which ran once a week over six weeks, she realized that her stress was around her ability to transition between work and home. She also realized that looking at social media all evening was exasperating the situation.
She went to a local dollar store and bought some palettes. some brushes and some paint. When she came home from work, she started painting and listening to classical music instead of turning to social media. Remarkably, she found that her ability to handle workplace stress greatly increased. This was a great saving for the school board and also saved her from the economic stress of being on a reduced income.
“I’m a supervisor in a shipping department. I resisted the strategies for clear communication. What was being suggested seemed to be too much work. I’m a busy guy and I just don’t have the time to stand around and talk. But I decided to give it a try. I stopped saying, “Do you understand?” and walking away. I started to really make sure that people understood. Within a few days, I noticed that my department was running 30% more efficiently. It was like the
department was running itself.”
“All of our sub-agreement holders from 32 communities came out for the workshops. They came in groups of 20 or less so everyone would have a chance to fully participate. Since the training occurred, things are running much better, and rather than being behind in deadlines, we nd that we are ahead.”