For employers and prospective employees alike, attending the Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair at the Cloverdale Agriplex Thursday was no one-size-fits all affair.
More than 80 companies signed up to greet job seekers, answer questions, offer guidance and, in some cases, provide career advice.
Victoria Almond told Black Press that she was impressed there were employers attending that matched her career ambitions.
Having spend the past 15 years in administrative work, the Langley City resident is now considering social work, possibly focusing on special-needs education.
Almond said the people she spoke to were “super helpful” and that “overall, everybody’s on the ball.”
The public sector was a particularly strong draw for some applicants, with booths staffed by representatives from Surrey Schools, BC Corrections, Canadian Forces and more.
Const. Erika Dirsus attended on behalf of the RCMP’s E-division, responding to numerous questions on a career with Canada’s national police force.
She said that the many of those who dropped by to speak to her were “focused” in their questions, with some seeking recruitment information on behalf of friends or family.
“Career fairs are one of the ways we have to (publicize) that we’re hiring 1,200 a year,” Dirsus said, noting that a recent RCMP policy change allows successful applicants to request being stationed in their home provinces, if desired.
Dirsus said the career fair offered a chance to answer questions that may not be on the www.rcmp.ca website, but that ultimately that is where potential RCMP employees are directed in order to apply.
Other employers – including private companies of various sizes – said the fair provided an opportunity to allow them to meet job candidates, unlike online applications.
Alex Little, talent acquisition specialist with GroupHealth, said that by mid-day she had already met a number of “great” candidates for the 14 positions her growing South Surrey-based health-insurance company had to fill.
In addition, Little said, it was a benefit as an employer to network with other businesses.
Stacey Laybolt, assistant food and beverage manager at Elements Casino – located across the Cloverdale Fairgrounds from the one-day job fair – said that with live horse racing starting at the casino’s Fraser Downs Racetrack next week, there are even more positions available than usual.
Laybolt said that although, like the other companies, online job applications are the norm, Elements welcomes people of all levels of experience to enquire personally.
“We love the interaction,” Laybolt said of the job fair.
“We’re all about the training. If they have training, great. If not, we will train them.”
The Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair is a free event that takes place in communities across B.C. Look out for more details on the next fair, coming to Victoria.