The Northwestern Ontario Practice Firm, “Envision North,” will have its official grand opening on August 14th at10:00 a.m. at 398 Scott Street.
Local MP Robert Nault will be in attendance along with a number of other guests who will speak on the concept of the “virtual firm.”
“We’ll show people around and explain to them what it is all about,” said Paul Zaremba, the business manager for Envision North.
Envision North is a virtual business that is funded by the Human Resources Development Canada and managed by Confederation College. It is based on a European model used for on-the-job training and is among 40 such faux businesses in Canada.
The firm interacts with 3,600 other practice firms around the world, yet no money ever changes hands. The point of the program is to set up a business-like environment where volunteers can gain valuable work experience.
“It’s live, you walk in and you would think its a real business,” Zaremba said.
According to Zaremba the whole concept boils down to “learning by doing.”
And he says its already working. The first group of 11 unpaid volunteers who started the 20-week program in April are about to graduate.
“Out of the first group of 11, we already placed seven with jobs,” said Zaremba.
“The point is [for the volunteers] to gain experience and have opportunity to meet employers,” he added.
Zaremeba is hoping to make an impression on the business community at the grand opening.
“I really want to encourage employers to check us out,” he said. “There are some very highly motivated people [working] there.”
He also stressed that Envision North is always looking for some new volunteers who are currently unemployed or underemployed, and are willing to commit to the program and explore different career opportunities.
“Experience is an important tool,” he said.