A career change can be a stressful proposition, but also extremely rewarding when presented with the right opportunities.
Finding those opportunities could be as simple as attending the Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair on April 11 at Rutland Centennial Hall in Kelowna.
Founded in Kelowna and now the city’s largest private-sector employer, KF Aerospace will be attending the fair, seeking those keen for a career change or looking to get a foot into the workforce.
“We’re about 725 employees here in Kelowna,” said Grant Stevens, KF Aerospace vice-president of corporate services. “I would say, over the next 12 to 18 months, we’ll probably grow to about 800 employees. That’s kind of the plan.”
Stevens said KF has a wide range of what they call direct-entry jobs, for people who don’t necessarily have specific skills or training in aviation. These can be administrative jobs supporting hangar operations, or more hands-on types of positions such as aircraft service technicians, who look after tasks such as assembling or disassembling interiors of planes.
And then there are jobs for those who have a relevant diploma or degree.
“They’ll have gone to Okanagan College or Northern Lights College or BCIT and places like that to get a diploma in aerospace maintenance so they can become an AME (aircraft maintenance engineer),” said Stevens, noting KF has a training partnership with Okanagan College, which will also be represented at the fair.
“There are two things I think somebody going to the career fair is going to find. There are jobs currently available, certainly for us in the community,” said Stevens. “The other thing is there are future training opportunities. People may be in a job that they’re not that interested in, or they don’t think it has potential long term. You get a chance to meet people from places like Okanagan College, and I suspect other training institutions, so you can take a look at other training opportunities.”
The Centre For Arts and Technology is another of those training opportunities that will be on hand, on the lookout for high school graduates and those seeking a career change.
“We do have a couple of initiatives that we run internally here. For a little bit older demographic that are looking for more of a retraining situation,” said Megan Reid, the centre’s community relations manager.
Reid said the Centre, a repeat attendee of Black Press’ Extreme Education and Career Fairs, values the opportunity the event provides to connect with possible future students, and vice versa.
“We go more for a marketing and recruitment type of boot. For us that’s the draw, is it’s still a local, public fair where we get a lot of traffic come through,” said Reid.
The April 11 event will be the third Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair for KF Aerospace, which Stevens views as an opportunity to help the company grow.
“We had some good quality people we had a chance to meet and talk to about potential careers here with the company, so that’s why we’re back again,” said Stevens. “Really for us, we are continuing to grow our business here in Kelowna and across Canada, so it’s important for us to be out talking with the community about the career opportunities we have here in Kelowna and other places like Manitoba and Hamilton and Vancouver.”
The Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rutland Centennial Hall, in Centennial Park at 215 Shepherd Rd.