Alice Van Blokland, director of employment services for Beacon Community Services, says would-be job seekers should be prepared to interview during Thursday’s virtual job fair running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

WorkBC Sidney zooms up virtual job fair

Fair scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday features four local employers

A virtual job fair scheduled for Thursday promises to connect job seekers with Saanich Peninsula employers.

WorkBC Employment Services and the Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) of Greater Victoria are presenting the Saanich Peninsula Virtual Job Fair running online from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Interested parties can contact WorkBC Sidney to sign up for the virtual fair.

Alice Van Blokland, director of employment services for Beacon Community Services that holds the WorkBC contract, said the fair has to be online, because of measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s more appropriate to do it this way, because, if we have more than 50 people, that is not permitted,” she said.

Job seekers can access the fair through Zoom with the numbers of would be employers limited to four: Schneider Electric, Portofino European Bakery, Benson Cabinetry and Millwork, and Epicure.

Van Blokland said this limited number should help. “We are starting small just for time,” she said. “You can’t have it as a free-for-all, where people just go around obviously. We’ll see how that plays out and if we can get a substantial number of job seekers, we can always look at doing another one and making it a full day.”

RELATED: Work BC Sidney helping clients bowl over competition and strike a new job

Van Blokland acknowledges a virtual job fair cannot fully replicate the more intangible elements of connecting would-be employers with job seekers. But Zoom’s breakout room element allows job seekers to speak to specific employers and the interactions are still live. “These are not canned presentations, so they can still have an exchange with people,” she said. “People will still have opportunity to ask questions and dialogue with each of the employers.”

But if Thursday’s job fair is virtual, certain analog rules continue to apply to would-be job seekers.

Van Blokland said would-be job seekers should be prepared to share their resumes and dress for interviews. “It’s not just a presentation,” she said. “If an employers is very interested in you, you should be apply to provide your resume right away and be prepared to answer some interview questions. All of the clients that we see through WorkBC, we prep them in that way.”

Van Blokland said Beacon Community Services has studied what others have done. “We heard about one other agency [that has done a virtual job fair] and the most important part was that it would be well-organized, so people have a clear understanding of what is happening then. If it clearly laid out, they can choose which sessions they want to attend, and then having as dynamic as possible.”

Organization and accessibility is especially key when it comes to helping people who might not be as computer savvy, as others, she added.

RELATED: Greater Victoria records highest unemployment in post-war history with 11 per cent

Thursday’s job fair happening against the backdrop of one, if not the worst economic decline in modern history. The most recent figures from August peg the unemployment rate for the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area at 10.3 per cent, down from 11.3 percent in July. By way of context, Victoria’s CMA recorded an unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent in February, with the region consistently among the regions with the lowest unemployment rates anywhere in Canada.

“What I find interesting is that we are not seeing as many job candidates, or as many people looking for work, as I would expect, and I guess I can only attribute that to people receiving CERB or EI.”

Others, she added, may also curtail their job search because they have questions about health safety measures. “Is the work I’m going to be applying to safe? Are they following protocols? Will I be required to wear a mask? Are there hand hygiene practices?’”

Van Blokland said, in looking at her own organization, it has been quite fortunate in receiving considerable interest, some from places not necessarily expected. “We are having candidates apply from out of province, and even out of country, which is really unusual for us.”

For more information and sign up for the Sept. 24 event, call 250-656-0134 or email centre-sidney@workbc.ca.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

Theft of $120 in Sharpie is among the files Oak Bay Police Department responded to last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man steals $120 worth of Sharpies from Oak Bay Village

Police respond to daytime break-in and theft, among other calls last week

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

Most Read