The WEST program helps students with developmental and cognitive disabilities gain the skills they need to get and maintain employment. The program goal is for the students to gain skills necessary to foster personal growth and independence.  Students will acquire and develop vocational, academic, work, and essential life skills. The WEST program is offered at the Nanaimo and Cowichan campuses.

Course content

  • communication skills and work habits
  • employer and employee attitudes and expectations
  • time management
  • decision-making and problem-solving
  • knowing your strengths; knowing your needs
  • teamwork
  • positive self esteem
  • learning how to look for work
  • interview skills
  • handling money and banking
  • managing a budget
  • reading and writing at work

Work site training

Students spend one or two mornings a week in practical, hands-on, work-related activities. These are aimed at introducing students to job-related skills. The students' work site training will occur at various locations in the Cowichan Valley. In these settings, students acquire vocational skills and positive work habits for entry-level work areas such as retail, janitorial, horticultural, and food preparation. This takes place in the second semester of the first year.

Admission requirements

  • Students must be at least 17 years of age and out of high school for at least one year.
  • A basic literacy level and ability to work independently is necessary.
  • Suitability for enrollment is determined by an intake interview.
  • Students must arrange their own transportation to and from work sites.

How to apply

  1. Call the program coordinator at 250.746.3508 to discuss your interests from there you will:
  2. Arrange to visit our classroom to see how classes are structured
  3. Complete an Application Form and obtain your “Permission to Register” then you will:
  4. Take your form to Registration and get registered. There is an application fee to be paid at this time

Tuition and fees

See program fees.

All fees and costs are subject to change without prior notice.

Financial assistance may be available through the Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program (ABESAP) in the form of a grant for those who qualify. Application forms are available from Student Affairs, 250.746.3509.

Further information

Please contact the program coordinator at 250.746.3508 for up-to-date information, or call Student Affairs at 250.746.3509.

 Learn more about the Workplace Essential Skills Training (WEST) Program