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Feb 27th, 2024

Employee Spotlight: Long-time OCH Employee Guides Students in the YMCA Pre-Apprenticeship Program 

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When Philip Guilbeault came to OCH 15 years ago, he knew working here would be a great opportunity to help people.   

After being hired permanently, he started working in the city’s south end. He was invested in the community of Confederation Court. He volunteered with the Community House and helped hand out Christmas gifts to children for 10 years.   

Now, he works with the turnover team – which prepares homes for new residents to move into.  

His passion for helping people is why he has taken on mentoring new hires – and why he was thrilled to participate as a mentor in the YMCA program.  

The goal of the YMCA Home Renovation Program is to provide participants with six months of training in basic skills necessary to find jobs in residential renovation. That would include things such as carpentry, tiling, framing, flooring, and drywall finishing.   Upon graduating from this program, the participants are offered a 12-week paid work placement with OCH in which they are taught skills more specific to residential property management. These include things such as plumbing, electrical and general home maintenance repairs. At the end of their placement, participants may choose to apply for a job with OCH. 

Philip has mentored several students in the past few years, three of whom were hired by OCH following their placements. He said he sees their success as his reward. YMCA students have been placed with other maintenance teams at OCH as well. To date, OCH has hired six of them as full-time maintenance employees.  

“Many of these students are new Canadians, and the impact of providing this opportunity for them is so rewarding, not to mention the impact it has in their lives,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to mentor and help people succeed here at OCH in whatever capacity I can.”  

By the numbers  

The program requires the support of OCH’s Human Resources team, IT, Property Managers, Maintenance Coordinators and Maintenance Workers. Here’s how we have done so far:  

  • 7 Property Managers have supported participants in this program – dedicating time and resources to support the students  
  • 6 students were hired after completing the program.  

What are some of the challenges?  

Philip said that residents with increasingly complex needs, such as mental health or addiction issues, can be challenging to deal with. It takes time for students to get used to some of the problems residents face – but he brings it back to CARE values, which are – Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Excellence. 

“The tenants are number one. That’s why we’re here,” he said. “The CARE values are a great foundation to start.” 

How does it all work?  

Now that he has worked with several students, Philip has developed a training plan for future mentoring opportunities.  He said many students were newcomers to Canada – the first one he mentored was an OCH resident.   

When asked about the successful students, he had this to say:  

“They had great attitudes and dedication,” he said.   

Maintenance worker Philip Guilbeault

Philip Guilbeault