Cowichan News Leader

Job seekers need to find the right fit

The health care sector is one area that is expected to have a steady demand for new employees. - Andrew Leong/file
The health care sector is one area that is expected to have a steady demand for new employees.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

The Cowichan economy continues to be dominated by small business despite the number of big box stores that have joined the landscape in recent years.

That's the word from Donna Desmet, a case manager and client services team leader for Global Vocational Services, a WorkBC Employment Services Centre in Duncan.

Global has been actively engaged in the delivery of employment services in Cowichan since 1996. With the transition to the Employment Program of B.C. in April, Global now operates two Employment Service Centres in Duncan and Ladysmith and works with several sub-contractors in Lake Cowichan as well as specialized service providers in Cowichan.

The sales and service sector remains the busiest for hiring, Desmet pointed out, followed by trades and equipment operation, and labour and administrative sectors.

Depending on an individual's situation, there are also regional opportunities for employment where young people can especially gain valuable experience.

"We're certainly seeing more recruiters coming through from other areas — especially looking for skilled trade workers on the island,'' said Desmet.

With the Duncan employment rate at 9.6% for October, slightly higher than the current rate for B.C. of 6.5, it's something young people can consider to tide them over to get experience before looking for other options close to home again later.

Industrial plants across the island and on the Mainland and recruiters have been actively seeking qualified trades workers such as millwrights, steamfitters, pipefitters and welders, according to Desmet.

"The agency is also well aware of how shifting demographics, including the retirement of baby boomers, are impacting our local economy,'' she added.

"Around 2/3 of growth in employment over the next eight years is expected to be due to retirement, with the remaining 1/3 being due to industry growth.''

With an aging population, there will also certainly be a steady number of positions continuing to crop up in the health care sector.

Post-secondary training remains important for future opportunities.

"Statistics are showing employers are going to be needing skilled people that have some level of training or post-secondary education,'' said Desmet.

"We're certainly seeing that there is a demand with people with journeyman qualifications,'' she added. "I think the challenge for people can be getting started.''

Word of opportunities and growth occupations is shared with job seekers at weekly drop-in sessions and in-house resources, but Desmet cautioned against making career decisions based solely on demand.

"We always encourage job seekers to look at the fit first, considering their skills, values, personality, interests and abilities prior to making career decisions,'' stressed Desmet.

"It's also recommended that job seekers connect with local employers, industry association and training organizations to further explore their options.''

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