Caleb Tuaiti, a Grade 11 student from Salmon Arm, isn’t sure where his career path will take him yet, but said it was comforting to have companies reach out to younger audiences at the first Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair.
“It’s been really helpful because I’ve been all over the place (in my career path),” he said, as his interests lie with cooking, the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP.
“It was nice being able to talk to someone that was in it already,” said Tuaiti. “Basically they laid out the platforms and listed certain recommendations and said ‘yea, we can train you. You can have no experience.’”
The career fair was held Thursday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kelowna Curling Rink and was well received by the 60 vendors and more than 3,500 participants.
Uki Khatri recently graduated from the Aerospace Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program at Okanagan College in Dawson Creek.
He saw Kelowna flight craft was hiring, so he brought his resume to the fair.
“I have an interview either today or tomorrow so I’m really glad I came,” he said.
Sophie Bidgood recently moved to Kelowna from Vancouver with her family and came to the career fair in search of work.
Working previously as an executive assistant, and after reading about the career fair through WorkBC she hoped to get a job with Okanagan College, Interior Health, or somewhere similar.
“I’m pretty interested in the health care… but I’m open to any company really. The beauty of being an executive assistant is you can work anywhere,” she said.
Speaking with vendors, Black Press reporters asked why the vendors chose to showcase their jobs at the career fair and what types of jobs they offer.
Karen Hill, publisher for the Kelowna Capital News, said it gives the organization the opportunity to speak with a large number of people in a single day, so it makes it easier to find potential employees.
She added people are “pleasantly surprised” to find there’s a variety of careers available at the newspaper, including in the creative side and in sales.
A list of paper routes were also on display along with various career opportunities with Black Press.
Const. Erika Dirsus with the RCMP said the RCMP is hiring 1,200 individuals a year over the next three to five years so they wanted to spread the news and offer information about the job opportunities.
The RCMP had flyers and offered advice with civilian careers.
Dave Boyle, with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the fair was a great opportunity to allow the public to ask questions about what the government organization does as well as questions they may have about fishing. “It’s being accessible to the public,” he said.
Tristan Readman, with the Canadian Coast Guard, said he’s been involved with the Coast Guard for 22 years. “They’ve been a fantastic employer,” he said, adding he wanted to share the knowledge at the career fair.
“There’s more than just ship positions, which is what people don’t understand… we maintain all the equipment on the ship so we have carpenters, electricians, electronics, administrative staff,” said Readman.
Andrea Boyes, with Royal Roads University, said the university has a booth at career fairs because “a lot of people are looking to advance their education and find programs who are working full-time, who can do the courses primarily online.” The university is based out of Victoria and Boyes said the booth has been well received.
Patrick Tracy, with Discovery College, said the college wanted to see where the interest would be in Kelowna. “We know that people will travel if they believe in the education facility or program,” he said. They’ve received a lot of feedback and inquiries about the college and did accept resumes during the fair, he said.
Neha Bains, recruiting team lead for Ledcor, said the company has seen lots of interest in the construction side, and are hiring for various positions in the telecommunications divisions, searching for sales representatives. Previous experience is not required, she said.
Candace Gottschalk, vice president with human resources for Lordco, said the career fair was a great opportunity to reach out to the local community. Lordco was accepting applications for every type of position at the career fair, including “drivers, warehouse, cashiers and sales representatives,” and more.
Julie Dong, manager of the Kelowna ICBC licensing office, said ICBC is a great company always looking for recruits. “We basically are always looking for temporary employees,” she said. The main thing, she said, is people are coming to the fair and asking questions.
Officer Barkman, with BC Corrections, set up a venue at the fair to spread information about the process of hiring and providing the public with information on what they do.
“We’ve had all ages groups, some male, some female and some students, we’ve had great resources.”
The organization is currently recruiting for officers in B.C.