They have been mistaken as a gym and a place that only serves to those looking for manual labour.
WorkZone, the employment services and resource centre, wants to dispel those myths.
“Yes, we had one person come in thinking we were a gym, the work out zone,” laughs WorkZone general manager Verlaine Murphy. “There is the big misconception that WorkZone only deals with manual labour. We deal with everyone from the top professional all the way down to that young worker looking for their first job. We also deal a lot with at-risk youth and have a special team involved with them. We have had people here that have run their own business and have been in senior management with government. We cover the whole gamut.”
WorkZone provides a variety of free employment resources and services for anyone looking for work, assessing career options, or considering training or self-employment. Each office offers access to computers and the Internet, resume writing and career planning software, fax and photocopy machines, job postings, message boards, newspapers and a library of information on labour market trends and job profiles.
Murphy said with three local agencies closing their doors, including the Career and Business Development Network and the French services, they are working to tweak programs at WorkZone to assist those who will be now coming through their offices.
“We are fortunate because we have Tina Head, who did run CBD for awhile, and she is leading the introduction of what we need to change and tweak for professionals who come in looking for help. We are also fortunate because we have a staff of 46 people covering the South Okanagan. In that pool we have got a huge number of people with their bachelor degrees, social work degrees, people with their masters and PhDs all on our staff. And, the last time I counted up we have people that spoke 17 different languages between us all,” said Murphy.
Murphy said in 2012 the province has a new plan coming into effect and will be accepting requests for proposals later this year to find an agency that will provide a one-stop shop responsible for all those employment services. Something they are considering on bidding on. For now, they continue helping everyone who walks through their door and assisting in job fairs for businesses like one recently held for the new Canadian Tire store opening in Oliver.
Murphy advises anyone who has had the bomb of being laid off from their job that the best thing to do is jump right back on the horse and come and talk to one of their councillors to find out what their employment options are.
“It is important for people to start moving on quickly, otherwise that fear starts to set in. All of our staff working with clients are very personable because they keep the perspective that the client sitting opposite them could be them next. For many of the staff it has been their spouse, father, mother, brother or sister who has been affected,” said Murphy.
Work Zone has six centres located throughout the South Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. For more information visit www.workzonebc.com.