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With more businesses relying on the internet to reach customers, a Saint John non-profit is helping people learn the how-to's of digital marketing as a way to find a job.
One Change is running the One Futures program, which teaches Saint John residents under the age of 30 digital marketing skills.
Sean Simpson, an instructor and co-ordinator for the program, said it is focused on helping people who've faced barriers to getting work.
These barriers can be physical disabilities, mental health concerns or even just under-employment.
Simpson said people who've gone through the program are already helping businesses and non–profits expand their digital footprint.
"We've had a lot of success," said Simpson.
"One participant helped increase engagement on their social media platforms by almost 1,200 per cent."
Madison Blair has already gone through the program and is now in a work placement with the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce.
She said she was looking for something different after her last job.
"I was working at a call centre, but then I got laid off because of COVID," said Blair.
"Digital media and marketing was something I just never considered. So I thought it would be really neat to branch out and expand my skill set."
Blair said the program has taught her everything from compiling reports on marketing strategies to videography and photography.
Simpson said the pandemic has made businesses and non–profits more reliant on digital offerings, which means the people in the One Future program are in demand.
"Typically, it's 10 per cent every year where everybody moves online, and now it's, like, jumped 50 to 60 per cent just in one year," said Simpson.
"That's a five year increase from what it would have been if COVID wasn't around. So these skills really are working out right now."
While the pandemic has made these jobs more attractive, it was a hindrance at the beginning of the program.
"Our very first people going out on the work placement were on the job for about a week and a half, when we all had to sit home and start learning working-at-home skills," said Simpson.
"It wasn't something that we had taught the first go-around, but we started including that with our second course."
Blair said she'd never considered marketing as a job, but she's happy she enrolled in the program.
"It's been an amazing experience, really, to just have those resources and opportunities given to us," said Blair.
One Change is offering another One Future program coming up in April and applications are being accepted now. It is open to people of any education background.