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When it was created in 2005, CFACQ (Centre de formation de l’alimentation et détail du Québec – the Retail and Food Training Centre of Quebec) had five objectives: to train new workers for the retail and food industry; deliver customized training courses for employers contributing to the education fund; offer courses on safe food handling; and to develop life skills courses for TUAC Canada Local 500 members.
The CFACQ training centre is adjacent to the TUAC Canada Local 500 office in Montreal. After conducting a survey of Local 500 members and retirees about what new life skills courses they'd be interested in, a number of new courses were recently added. In addition, sessions in computer skills, and English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) courses have been expanded.
Some of the newest courses launched this fall include Discovering New Fruits and Vegetables; Horticulture; First Aid Training; and Spanish for Travelers which is taught by Lucia Albino, a TUAC Canada Local 500 member.
Members can now also improve their cooking skills through new courses taught by Léo Lavoie and Guy Tremblay who are both members and educators at Local 500, as well as Myriam Denis who is the interim coordinator of the centre.
Special courses and seminars have also been developed for Local 500 retiree members, who this holiday season will be receiving a gift voucher from the CFACQ to take a class or to attend a seminar at no cost. Courses offered include Basic Computers Skills, First Aid Training (adapted for the elderly); Retirement Planning; and Wills and Estate Planning.
Altogether, the CFACQ courses have been building in popularity with both current and retired Local 500 members. “We only exist to serve the members, so enhancing the CFACQ offerings is meant to strengthen the benefit and bond of membership," says Antonio Filato, president of TUAC Local 500. “It also encourages members to discover the training centre as well as visit their union office, perhaps for the first time”.
That was the case for Nathalie Bouchard, a single mother of two, who has been working at Metro Anjou for 16 years, and had never visited Local 500 before she started taking ESL classes next door at CFACQ. “I did not know where to go to take ESL lessons”, she says. “When I saw the posting from the CFACQ on my workplace bulletin board, I called right away. It's great our union offers members this chance to learn new skills and expand our opportunities."
This is the last edition of Directions for 2011. Directions will return on January 3, 2012.