Yukon College is offering a new bilingual customer service program for French speakers looking to work in tourism or the service sector in the Yukon.
The 13-week pilot program will begin in January 2017, and will end with a short work placement.
“We hope at the end of the program … that the students will be able to find a job where they can speak English or French or both in the customer services area,” said Stephanie Bourret, education manager with the Association franco-yukonnaise (AFY).
She said the idea for the program came out of a 2014 survey of employers that found they were having a hard time recruiting skilled workers.
“At that time, AFY thought it will be important to do a specific program where the person can improve their essential skills, especially in the customer services sector.”
Bourret said students in the new program will learn customer service skills, new technology, and essential skills, including how to write cover letters and prepare for job interviews. Though they won’t be taking language classes specifically, they will be working with a bilingual instructor. Bourret said students don’t need to be fully bilingual to enrol in the program.
“If a person can speak French and have a base in English, that’s the kind of people we are looking for.”
Bourret said AFY wants to heighten the experience of francophones coming to the Yukon.
The Yukon is currently Canada’s third-most bilingual jurisdiction behind Quebec and New Brunswick, with 13 per cent of Yukoners able to speak French and English, according to the 2011 census.
There are 10 spaces available in the new customer service program, and the deadline to apply is Jan. 13. Classes will begin Jan. 24. The college and AFY will assess the pilot program after it ends to decide whether to run it again.