Working behind the scenes at the Montreal YWCA employability services is a dream team made up of employment counsellors, guidance counsellors and social workers who help participants in their search for a career path.
You’ve already met Jéhanara Sage, a guidance counsellor with the OSE (Orientation and Services for Employment) program, and today we’d like to introduce you to another team member, Léa Gosselin.
Léa Gosselin joined the employability services team in the summer of 2019 as an employment counsellor for the Women’s Work Integration Program (WWIP) and its francophone version Femmes Vers l’Emploi (FVE). This program welcomes women who wish to join or return to the labour market.
This free and intensive 19-week program is directed at women who, for whatever reason, have distanced themselves from the labour market.
“The FVE or WWIP program provides women with a positive space where they can help each other and exchange ideas.”
Taking happiness into her own hands
Léa studied in an anglophone environment, and her comfort level with numbers is what led her to pursue business studies. She then went on to work in the insurance industry, a field that requires impeccable record-keeping skills and an ability to perform well under pressure.
Although she was successful in this field, she missed working with people, and after careful consideration, she decided to change career paths to follow her calling: she became an employment counsellor. She chose to take happiness into her own hands and invites women to do the same.
“Even though I was thrilled to be starting a new chapter in my life, I was also a bit worried. Going back to school meant I had to shoulder a huge financial burden, and there was always the possibility that I wouldn’t like the program. But right from day one, I was totally enthralled with my courses, and I knew I was in the right place.”
As soon as you meet her, Léa inspires trust: she looks you straight in the eye, she is calm and composed, and you have her full attention, all qualities that allow her to establish a relationship of trust with her clients. She is very forthcoming, providing valuable information to program participants, who have a variety of needs. Serious and committed, she always adheres to her work ethics and goes out of her way to do her very best.
Embracing a new life
Léa uses a client-centred approach. She is non-judgemental and flexible, consistent with the YWCA’s core values of inclusion, acceptance and respect. Along with the extended team of social workers and trainers, she helps women resolve the personal problems that sometimes act as barriers standing between them and the labour market.
“I really love working with my team. Even if we have different professional backgrounds, we work together to develop our participants’ skills so they can reach their objectives.”
But Léa also categorically states that time spent working together as a group must also represent an oasis of peace where everyone can work, learn and collaborate harmoniously. Their participants are just a step away from becoming employed: the goal is to narrow the gap separating them from the job market, where it is often important to take control of one’s emotions and mindset in order to be efficient.
“When the graduation takes place, the graduates talk about how proud they are of having chosen a new life by taking that first step of registering in the FVE or WWIP program.”
Léa’s positive philosophy is the thread that links the program’s intervention workers: a difficult past is not an indicator of someone’s future – women can be empowered to experience success.
Watching a flower unfold and blossom at high speed is the perfect metaphor to describe the progress made by these women over the 19 weeks of the program. On the agenda: a full program including training, meetings, initiatives and, at the end of the road, anticipated success, increased self-love, and a sense of restored dignity. Léa feels her life is greatly enriched by the life experiences of each woman she meets and works with: every day, she learns from them, and being able to witness their day-to-day success only serves to confirm that she has found her calling, something we couldn’t be more happy about!
All women are welcome
If a candidate’s background and needs meet the program’s objectives, she will be chosen to join our next cohort. Several current events have led the Montreal YWCA to re-emphasize their anti-racist and solidarity-based values. Our employability services welcome racialized women and women of any religious faith. Our doors are open to everyone – the YWCA is your home.
The next group starts on August 31, 2020.
You are interested in our program and want to know more? Visit the program page WWIP.