Laurie Orange (above left)

Laurie Orange (above left)

Job fair offers employment connection

Provincial job fair comes to Vernon Recreation Complex.

It was like a speed dating session for job seekers and employers Thursday at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

More than 100 people were eagerly lined up that morning for a chance to connect face-to-face with local and out-of-region employers at a provincially sponsored job fair.

Dubbed B.C. Jobs Start Here, the job fair is one of 23 planned across the province over  the next month.

Stephanie Munez, a member of the touring staff with the B.C. Jobs Plan, said they decided to open the doors early because the lineup was so large.

“This has been a great turnout,” said Munez. “I’ve heard a lot of feedback that everybody is happy with the employers and the venue and the presentation.

“I was surprised a lot of people came in with their resumes ready. Normally people are just here to look around. Everyone is very prepared.”

More than 20 employers set up booths to meet with the public and share information. They represented a wide segment of the workforce – financial, government, post secondary, trades, institutional, customer service, as well as industry associations and training authorities.

Sharon Miller, an employment specialist with the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP), was on hand to assist the public in learning more about apprenticeships and trades certification.

“We’re about matching employers from the demands side with good people in the trades,” said Miller, noting STEP has regional offices in Kelowna, Kamloops, Penticton and Castlegar.

“There is a lot of interest in the trades. There’s a lot more growth happening.”

Vernon’s Helena Kemper, an environmental studies student at Okanagan College, dropped in to see what was on offer. She works part-time now, but will be on the hunt for a summer job.

“I’m just testing the waters right now,” said Kemper. “It’s just seeing what’s out there and who’s hiring.”

Kemper was particularly drawn to the B.C. Ambulance Service booth.

“I went to the Ambulance right away,” she said. “I have a bunch of first aid and I’m a lifeguard so that’s an option.”

Along with the employers, the job fair also offered the public loads of information through its online resource at www.BCJobsPlan.ca. They had a number of iPads set up around the venue to provide instant online access.

The site is a valuable resource for any job seeker, offering a job search tool, aptitude surveys, resume builders, job statistics, career requirements and job demand by region. There is also information for job seekers in specialized populations – immigrants, women in trades, mature workers and youth.

“It’s a great resource,” said Munez.