Outstanding Women Learners and Leaders is a program that offers life, employability and skills training for careers in health care, hospitality, trades and entrepreneurship. This employment program is for women who have experienced violence and/or abuse and live in or near the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

The 2018 Vital Signs report indicates that the overall poverty rate in the Alberni Valley is 20.3% which is an increase of 2% since 2013, and the sexual assault rate is twice higher in the Valley than the provincial rate (The Alberni Valley Community Foundation, 2018).

The number of women using the Transition House (119) increased 43% from 2016/17 to 2017/18 and the number of women who received Outreach services (134) increased 33% over the same period (Alberni Community & Women’s Services Society, Annual Report, 2017/18). The Alberni Valley is a community that requires help and support to raise up those who are vulnerable, marginalized, and at risk.

A lack of education and skills training are barriers to employment for many women who have experienced violence. “Abuse in any form can make a woman feel tiny and not in control of her life” (www.one-spark.ca). The OWLL program is offering choices and opportunities to build skills to take back power and control that leads to a successful career and financial stability.

Who may be eligible?

  • Individuals who are legally entitled to work in Canada
  • Unemployed or precariously employed
  • Self identifies as a survivor of violence and/or abuse
  • Requiring skills needed for successful integration or re-integration into employment
  • Living in or near the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

What’s the program content like?

  • Seven weeks in-class: assessments, life and employability skills, guest speakers, certificate training, and employment coaching. Four days per week – with an average of 25 hours per week in-class (four days) and one hour per week with an Employment Coach/Job Developer. A partnership with ACAWS provides a program called “Rebuilding Lives” during the classroom component.  Cultural awareness and healthy lifestyles are also included.

  • Three Weeks of short-term occupational skills training:

Cohorts 1 & 3 Entrepreneurial Training: Four participants – three weeks x four days in-class. Plus, Health Care, Customer Service & Hospitality:  Four participants – three weeks x four days in-class.

Cohort 2 – Finishing Trades Exploration:  10 participants – three weeks @ North Island College, Trades Campus, Port Alberni

  • Four Weeks of unpaid work experience

The Employment Coach / Job Developer works with participants to connect them with employment opportunities that match their skills and abilities. The priority is to connect with employers who are willing to hire OWLL participants and may consider a wage-subsidy. 

Are there any participant allowances available?

  • A training allowance is available for active participation during the four-day in-class activities at a rate of $175 per week.
  • Allowances are paid as a training support and considered a taxable income in accordance with Revenue Canada. MERCs will not be paid on allowances nor will EI be deducted.   
  • Training Allowance Payments will be administered by the INEO financial administration each Friday to support the cost of attending the program.
  • In-class activities and absences are monitored by a daily attendance record with sign-in both morning and afternoon.

Start dates

(subject to change depending on applications and wait lists)
OWLL 1 – October 14, 2019 – Jan 31, 2020 – Heath care, hospitality, customer service, entrepreneurship

OWLL 2 – August 10, 2020 – November 13, 2020 – Women in trades

OWLL 3 – March 8, 2021 – June 4, 2021 – Heath care, hospitality, customer service, entrepreneurship


How to apply

Applications for OWLL may be accessed here or in-person at INEO Employment Services (4908 Argyle Street); and may be submitted via email to: info@ineoemployment.com or dropped off in-person.  INEO will screen applicants through an interview process and select participants based on eligibility, need, and fit for the program.

Is there a follow-up process?

The program includes ‘ongoing’ support for individuals who continue to seek employment and/or self-employment.  INEO will provide follow-up services to the end of contract term, June 30, 2021. INEO provides all participants with an opportunity for group and/or individual check-ins.