Thanks to the help of his mother and grandmother, Mark’s daughters have always been well cared for and even a little spoiled. But this Christmas is going to be very different for Mark himself.
“This Christmas is the first time I think I’ll actually be able to save money, and that’s big for me. The first thing on my list is a more reliable car for me and my kids,” he says.
Because of Mark’s hard work and the support of the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), the local WorkBC Employment Services Centre and his new employer, he is able to get back on track and provide the financial support that he and his children need.
Today, Mark is a trained and certified insulator for commercial, recreational and industrial sites and a valuable asset to his employer.
“This is the highest paying job I have ever had," Mark says.
Life wasn’t always this positive for Mark. Things changed when he received the call he’d been waiting for advising him that he was being granted sole custody of his two young daughters in 2014. He knew there were some important changes he was going to have to make in his life.
At the time, Mark had just been laid off from a restaurant and was looking for another job.
“I was constantly looking for work but found it very difficult to find a good paying local job that would support my family,” he says.
After a lot of effort, Mark still found himself on employment insurance. Once that came to an end, he had to turn to income assistance to help make ends meet. He knew he had to do something, so he redoubled his job search efforts. Not long after, Mark received a call from a WorkBC staff member who told him about the new SPEI program, which helps remove barriers to employment for single parents on income or disability assistance.
“Staff at the local WorkBC Centre reached out to me and worked to find an opportunity that worked for my family. They found a local company that agreed to take me on through a wage subsidy and provide me on-the-job training as an insulator,” Mark says.
From the beginning, Mark excelled at his new job. A big part of his success was the financial support that SPEI provides to cover child-care costs for his two girls, who need care both before and after school.
When his wage subsidy ended in September, Thermotech Insulation hired Mark to stay on full-time, which also included health and dental benefits for him and his girls.
“Mark is focused, hard-working and is a great asset to our team,” said Roy Wood, owner of Thermotech. “He is constantly challenged with new things to learn and approaches each curve with a willingness that is commendable. As Mark’s employer, I see his commitment to providing a better life for himself and his family and Thermotech is happy to be part of that. I couldn’t ask for a better employee.”
Looking ahead to 2017, things are moving in the right direction for Mark and his family. He feels secure in his job and his future as a full-time parent. “I know that if I keep working hard I will be able to help create bright futures for all of my kids.”
The Single Parent Employment Initiative provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports including up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or paid work experience placement, transit costs to and from school, and child-care costs during their training or work placement and in the first year of employment. Single parents can also remain on income assistance while attending a training program. Since its launch in September 2015, more than 4,000 single parents have become involved in SPEI and more than 730 have already found employment.
Read more stories of single parents getting support to build a better future for their family.
Learn more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative.