The Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce, with funding provided by the Government of Canada, through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement, recently delivered the Mt Waddington Digital Elevation Expertise Program (DEEP) which was developed for North Island College by local entrepreneur and digital specialist Serena Neumerschitsky.
DEEP is a relevant, accessible online training program that provided participants with in-demand expertise in the new age of the digital economy. Participants learned about digital branding, communications, marketing, and online sales of products and services and are now equipped to master sought-after skills required by employers in our region.
Businesses in the North Island experienced a significant decline as a result of Covid-19.
The situation has been exacerbated because some local businesses do not have a well-developed digital presence. Not all local retail and service sector companies can offer online shopping or e-commerce options, and many have websites in need of updating. These businesses simply do not have the resources to retrain staff to take this on, nor could they find skilled employees locally. DEEP graduates have learned the skills required to develop and modernize the digital communications that businesses need to remain sustainable, during and after COVID-19.
The program was completed in December 2020 with 10 eligible participants who undertook the 10-week program. The program had no cost to participants and was open to unemployed and underemployed (including part time and seasonal workers) people who wanted to update their skills and work for a local business or start their own digital consulting business. Participants were also provided with a laptop computer and other supports.
Elizabeth Aman-Hume, Executive Director at Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce, says, “We are so grateful to have received this funding. This program will bring much needed digital marketing skills to businesses in our community as they forge ahead with significant changes in how they operate. My hope is that this is just a beginning and that DEEP will be a catalyst for more like it in the future.
Donna Merry Regional Manager at North Island College, Mixalakwila Campus says, “NIC is excited to bring this important program to the Mount Waddington region. Participants were supported in an enriched online learning environment including group discussions with the instructor and one-to-one mentorship to gain highly relevant and marketable skills in online business development.”
Serena Neumerschitsky DEEP creator and instructor says, “I am so excited to work in partnership with the Port Hardy Chamber and the North Island College to bring the Digital Elevation Expertise Program to the North Island. A digital identity is now a growing necessity, with the shifts we’re seeing day-to-day in this “new world” we’re finding digital literacy, both personally and professionally, is more important than ever.”
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