Bryony Davis

Bryony Davis

Community Futures North Okanagan revamped

Despite a restructuring of its provincial contract, it's business as usual at Community Futures North Okanagan.

The thing about all the changes at Community Futures North Okanagan is no one is likely to notice them. At least hopefully not their clients.

It is business as usual for the organization as it rolls out the province’s new employment program – known as WorkBC – which continues to offer business, economic development and employment services.

“The biggest change and shift for the province is from a number of contracts for employment services to one contract,” said Leigha Horsfield, business services co-ordinator at Community Futures.

“There’s new processes and procedures (for staff) to follow, but in general, clients won’t notice a change because the focus is still on them.

“The idea is for it to be seamless for the client. It’s making sure they have a positive experience, get the help that they need and make it to the services that make sense to them.”

Taking on the role of a WorkBC Employment Services Centre, Community Futures and its partners – Vernon Immigrant Services, John Howard Society, Kindale Developmental Association – are working to ensure job seekers receive the appropriate employment services at the right location. This no-wrong-door approach includes entry points for all job seekers, as well as specialized populations.

For clients in Enderby, it also includes the North Okanagan Employment Enhancement Society. In Lumby, services are being delivered in the White Valley Resource Centre and in Armstrong at Kindale.

“Existing businesses can access services here for loans and business coaching and various workshops,” said Horsfield. “People that are unemployed can get a whole lot of help through the WorkBC program, and for economic development we sit on Visions North Okanagan and we support initiatives throughout the Okanagan.”

At the self-serve resource centres, both youth and adults are able to get assistance with resumes, cover letters and get access to a variety of local and provincial job postings. On any given day, there are upwards of 150 job postings on the boards.

The centres also offer a number of workshops that focus on self-marketing, interview skills and job seeking.

“We see over 100 people a day through the doors and their needs vary from having to make a quick call for a job, or requiring one-to-one help with every aspect of their job search,” said Steve Elliman, a job search advisor at the centre.

For clients requiring more in-depth services, case managers are available. They work with youth and adults, disabled persons, survivors of violence, immigrants, or those needing access to training, wage subsidies or self employment.

For businesses, the WorkBC program offers a number of services. For example, the targeted wage subsidy program is an employment service that provides employers with financial assistance with the wages of eligible individuals they hire. It helps individuals who may lack work experience by building their skills and improving their ability to become employed.

The work practicum assists eligible individuals who lack work experience by providing an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of a workplace environment and employer expectations in the workplace. Employers do not pay the individuals in the practicum, however, they are expected to provide constructive feedback and evaluation of job performance.

“We are out in the community regularly, talking to businesses about what is happening in their industry in order to provide them with services and share information with job seekers,” said Horsfield.

In trades services, Cory Rudsvick acts as a liaison between potential apprentices and the employers who are willing to take them on. He also informs employers about the training tax credit program that provides tax breaks for employers and apprentices who are engaged in eligible apprenticeship programs administered through the Industry Training Authority.

The Employment Program of B.C. is funded by the provincial and federal governments. For more information about the local WorkBC program, or services for businesses, visit