September 28, 2020

BY MIKE VIELMA
“I wish we had more people like them, where they just say yes,” said Dianne Murphy, faculty member of preparatory programs at Conestoga College. “If they can, they say yes. They are willing to help people who are having tough times and I just wish we had more employers like them.”
Murphy was referring to Scott Wilkie, promotions manager for 91.5 the Beat and Dave FM, and George Vandermey, director of human resources services for the City of Cambridge, both of whom won an award at the seventh annual Employment Facilitation Network of Cambridge and North Dumfries Employer Recognition Breakfast at the Galt Country Club on Oct. 24.
The event, which had more than 90 people in attendance, was held to recognize local employers who have exceeded expectations in assisting people by providing various work experiences, employment opportunities and training. There were a total of 12 employers recognized at the breakfast.
Wilkie, a.k.a. Silks the Prize Guy, was specifically recognized by Conestoga College for helping students go through a co-op program at the radio stations he works for. He also works with Murphy to help individuals find a career path they are interested in.
Murphy, who has been on the breakfast’s planning committee since its inception in 2005, runs two programs that help individuals decide their career path before they sign up for college or university. The programs are called Focus For Change and Discover Your Future.
The people in these programs tend to be going through a transition phase  and are out of options. They are looking for a fresh start.
“They are literally on an island, they are on their own,” Murphy said.
She does as much as she can to help these people overcome educational, financial and personal barriers in order to become successful. She can always count on Wilkie to be a positive role model and lend a helping hand.
Murphy said, “The fact that I know I can say to my students, go to Scott at Dave FM and you’ll be treated right, is really amazing.
“It doesn’t matter what I ask, it may not even be within the scope of his department, but he’ll say he knows who can help, for any situation.”
Murphy had one of her students graduate from the broadcast – radio program at Conestoga last year because she brought him to Wilkie and he introduced the student to helpful contacts in the industry.
Wilkie said, “Someone took the time back in 1998 to take me as a co-op student and show me the ropes and basically led me to my career. I just want to make sure I pay it forward and give it back to someone else.
“It just seems like a regular thing to do at work (run the co-op program). But sometimes you don’t understand the impact you’re making on people’s lives.”
The co-op program involves students helping out around the studio, and shadowing Wilkie and other employees.
“In your job you have to find certain things that make you want to go everyday, and that’s totally one of them,” Wilkie said.
The other award winners at the recognition breakfast were: Cambridge Towel, Cambridge Career Connections, Blind Ambition and Solar Tech, Tirecraft Cambridge, Canadian Hearing Society, Moores, Robinson Solutions, Neatly Maid Cleaning Service, Upper Canada Food Group and Liquidation World.