Finding jobs for the unemployed is about breaking down barriers.
Gail Evans, manager of the Salmon Arm Work BC office, helps people overcome those barriers by providing resources, boosting the applicant’s confidence and helping them market their job skills to employers.
Work BC’s office provides a self-serve area with computers, a job board and informational resources for job seekers.
Evans said in the self-serve area job seekers can use the computers to build or improve their resumes and cover letters using templates, or to research school or training opportunities they may need.
She said a lack of a computer or even just a printer to print copies of resumes is a barrier on the job search that Work BC is able to remedy.
Beyond physical limitations such as the lack of a computer, Evans said job seekers can be helped by taking an interview focusing on their job skills and learning to market them. Job seekers who still do not find success after using the resources in the self-serve area are referred to Work BC case managers who provide support and guidance.
Evans said Work BC offers workshops on subjects such as resume writing and interview techniques.
“We have workshops every day throughout the month.”
She said people of all demographics use Work BC’s services in the Shuswap, but some ages have more success than others.
“From our experience, a more mature population has a harder time finding a job than younger people.”
She said Work BC Job developers have had good results overcoming the barrier of age by marketing the positive aspects of an older employee, including their greater life experience, common sense and personal management skills.
Another common barrier is lack of confidence.
“Once a person has been unemployed for a while it takes a toll on their self-esteem,” she says.
Evans said the staff at the Work BC office overcome lack of confidence in clients by having them attend workshops as well as working with the job developer and their case manager to better understand and market their job skills.
“I find that once people start getting involved and making connections with our staff you really start seeing the change in the individual.”
Although Salmon Arm is just one of many Work BC offices throughout the province, Evans said job seekers can receive similar help at any of the offices because they all operate based on the Employment Program of BC. She said client files can also be transferred between offices ensuring they receive consistent help wherever they move.
Evans acknowledged there are some major barriers to employment that Work BC does not have the resources to address, such as lack of transportation, childcare or affordable housing.
To help match job seekers with employers, Black Press is hosting an Extreme Education and Career Fair on Thursday, Sept. 14, at the Kelowna Curling Club, 551 Recreation Ave., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, go to: facebook.com/BlackPressExtremeEducationandCareerFair.