WorkBC Fernie Centre can help with solving pandemic employment issues through a variety of programs. File Photo

WorkBC programs help remedy pandemic employment woes

The WorkBC Centre Fernie is offering a host of programs to help employers and employees

Submitted by: WorkBC Centre Fernie

COVID-19’s impact on the local job market spread viciously and quickly. Like the rest of the country, Columbia Valley residents are experiencing layoffs, reduced hours and job losses. The road to B.C. opening the economy is not set in stone and rebuilding the job market will take time as businesses reopen in stages. WorkBC offers several programs to support eligible individuals who may want to explore other options.

Skills Enhancement Training

Maybe it is time for a career change, but you need training to pursue it. You could get paid to learn from home. WorkBC can support those eligible to access programs through Skills Enhancement Training Services. This can include training up to two years in duration, leading to a certificate, diploma or degree. This is the perfect time to consider taking an online program that may be eligible for funding and the options have grown as COVID-19 has pushed post secondary institutions to offer courses online. While you are training, WorkBC can cover other supports including childcare, transportation, books and supplies and living supports.

Wage Subsidy Program

Did you know that WorkBC can provide wage subsidies for new employees? WorkBC’s Wage Subsidy Program is twofold in its benefits. First, it provides financial reimbursement to employers who hire and train eligible job seekers. Second, a new worker gains skills and experience as well as employment. The amount of wage subsidy depends on how much training is needed, but typically it is equal to 50 per cent of the new worker’s wage for a period of up to 24 weeks. This can be a huge support for employers, covering the extra expense of training a new employee who has not worked in the industry before. This subsidy can often be the incentive an employer needs to hire someone who is a good “fit” for their business, but still needs some training. Everyone benefits with a wage subsidy. Employers gain a trained employee and financial assistance paying their wage, and employees gain valuable work experience and a job. Plus, the paperwork is simple and straightforward.

Self Employment Program

Self employment is another route to consider. Maybe you have had a business idea for years but have not had the time to put it into action. Now could be the time. The WorkBC Self Employment Program can help you develop and build your online or home based business. The Self Employment Program offers 48 weeks of financial assistance and entrepreneurial support. WorkBC helps you get ready to launch your business with support creating a business plan and coaching and mentoring once you have started operating. Use this time at home to do market research. You can start online and get established without the extra expenses of a storefront, then look to expand as it grows.

For more information or to access WorkBC Employment Services, contact us by phone at 250- 423-4204, by email at or visit our website at WorkBC is funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

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