A community job fair for the Elk Valley will be hosted in Fernie at the Community Centre from 2 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 28. The goal of the event according to the marketing and community engagement liaison for the Elk Valley’s EK Employment branch, Brenda Sutherland, was to get employers and potential employees face to face.
“Our goal was to build the bridge between job seekers and the employers in the Elk Valley and to carry on the tradition that was started by Elk Valley Jobseekers which started about ten years ago,” she said, “Their goal was to expedite the hiring process for all Elk Valley businesses as is our goal today.”
The event typically receives around 350 jobseekers and 25 employers.
“The Elk Valley Job Fair was organized and carried on from Elk Valley Jobseekers in 2012. The main reasons for this event was to fill the gap and connect jobseekers in the Elk Valley giving them an opportunity to gain employment with employers in need of new staff. From what started as more seasonal employment opportunities during the winter season, Fernie has evolved into a year round tourism community and the job fair has evolved as well,” said Sutherland. “The overall focus is on the needs of employers and jobseekers [offering] not only seasonal but for year round, full time and permanent employment as well. It’s an opportunity for both job seekers and employers to get the face-to-face time that is rare in B.C. today as most job seekers are required to apply online for work. The face-to-face time is a positive way to really get to know each other on a personal level and getting that vibe from each other that can make the hiring process more positive for both parties.”
Although the event – in its current form has been around for four years, the original event began several years prior.
“As the years have gone by, the exposure has increased thus giving the Elk Valley Job Fair the reputation of it being around and relied upon for seasonal, casual, part time and full time permanent employment,” said Sutherland. “Perhaps the one change has been that there has been an increase in employers attending who have companies outside of the Elk Valley region and are in need of qualified applicants throughout the East Kootenay region.”
Jobs on offer vary according to Sutherland.
“As Fernie is a popular tourist destination, many of our employers looking to recruit employees work in the hospitality industry. We also have Teck Coal Corporation and their contractors in the Elk Valley who participate yearly for their employment needs,” she said. “The vast majority of Fernie is small business in many service sectors so whoever has the need for workers are invited to meet potential jobseekers face-to-face and may do on the spot interviews and hiring. The jobs available may range from dishwashers to health care and accountants to welders. It’s a very wide range depending on local labour market needs each year.”
Sutherland encourages those who can not make the event but are looking for work to check out the job board which is updated locally at EK Employment’s Fernie Branch on 2nd Ave.
“The Job Fair starts at 2 p.m. and runs until 5 p.m.; however, there is such a blitz at 2 p.m. that most jobseekers are done by 4 p.m. and employers start heading out then. The staff looks forward to this event every year as it gives our staff and the community we serve the opportunity to meet. There are times that we know an employer only through phone calls, so we love to put a face to a name and finally chat face-to-face,” said Sutherland. “Also, we are strongly encouraging all Trade Companies to attend as there have been a lot of enquiries regarding when things will be picking up in the Elk Valley. Job seekers would love to hear from these companies themselves on current and future employment needs.”