A student checks out career options at the Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair in Kelowna on March 12, 2018. Image: Dustin Betuzzi

A student checks out career options at the Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair in Kelowna on March 12, 2018. Image: Dustin Betuzzi

Career options abound at Black Press Career Fair

Black Press hosted its second annual Extreme Education and Career Fair Monday in Kelowna

For as long as she can remember, Claire Delmore has wanted a career that gives her a chance to help people. The problem, she says, is that she still doesn’t know what that career is.

Until last year, the 20-year-old Kelowna woman was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree at UBC Okanagan, but says losing her mother to cancer last summer prompted her to take some time out to “reevaluate” her decisions.

She says part of that process was checking out the Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair, Monday morning in Kelowna. Delmore was one of hundreds to make their way down to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus to check out the annual event, and says she was impressed by what she saw.

“A friend told me about it after seeing a post on Facebook,” Delmore explained. “I thought it would be a good chance to see what’s out there.”

After talking to Blake Edwards, recruitment and events coordinator with Okanagan College, Delmore said she would consider pursuing the college’s Human Service Work diploma program.

Edwards said events like Black Press’s career fair are a great way for the college to showcase not only the 130 programs offered by the college, but the variety.

“We have lots of opportunities for everyone,” Edwards said, adding that current programs include everything from trades to education.

In addition to roughly 10 educational institutions, the event included a variety of helpful workshops for job seekers, hosted by Dave Hamilton, president of Black Press’s BC Interior South Division, as well as more than 60 employers, many of whom are currently offering opportunities across the province. Chief among those companies are the Canadian Coast Guard, the Department of Oceans and Fisheries, BC Corrections, Starbucks, McDonald’s, BMW Kelowna and ICBC.

“It’s an organization that lends itself to opportunity and advancement,” Joe Houben of ICBC said.

“There are really opportunities for almost every background.”

Lyle Blomquist, a provincial recruiting officer with BC Corrections, echoed Houben, noting that there are currently opportunities with BC Corrections in 10 different communities across British Columbia, including Kamloops and Oliver. And while a background in criminology or sociology are beneficial to a prospective employee, Blomquist says the basic requirement to work for BC Corrections is a Grade 12 diploma and a 70 per cent average in English 12.

Vinay Mehta, operations manager with McDonald’s says with his company, a diploma never hurts, but a good attitude will get you ahead. Ideally, Mehta says, an ideal candidate would have both if they want to advance through the company.

“I started with McDonald’s as a crew person when I was a teenager and kept the job through school and while I pursued my bachelors in business administration. Now I run an organization that does 25 million in sales in eight restaurants,” he said. “So there are opportunities here.”

To help those who wish to advance, he said the company has launched new scholarship programs, that help with tuition and book fees.

Trina Zacharias, who manages Starbucks at Harvey and Gordon, said her organization offers similar benefits to long-term employees.

Related: Trades programs helping to fill gaps in the job market

Related: Growing demand for skilled workers in the wine industry

Related: Number of women in tech growing in the Okanagan

Related: Home Depot hires across British Columbia

Related: Finding a job takes work

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