Hundreds of job seekers expected at employment fair

NANAIMO – Organizers are expecting hundreds of employment seekers at a job fair hosted by GT Hiring Solutions.

Organizers are expecting hundreds of employment seekers at a job fair hosted by GT Hiring Solutions.

The Work B.C.-sponsored event happens today (April 9), when more than 50 employers will be looking to fill part-time and full-time, year-round and seasonal positions, ranging from sales, construction trades, service and retail to military careers, law enforcement and more.

Unions will be recruiting for northern B.C. projects, like Site C dam and medical facilities, plus local companies like medical marijuana producer Tilray are looking to hire 100 or 200 people, said John Tait, GT Hiring Solutions job developer and wage subsidy adviser.

Hotels, resorts, large retailers and others are looking to fill summer positions.

Tait said 300 hundred people have already registered and as many as 700 job hunters or more could turn out.

Numbers of people attending job fairs in Nanaimo have declined in recent years – 900 turned out in 2013 – but with the B.C. unemployment rate currently at 5.3 per cent and rising, job seeker turnout could be larger than anticipated.

“Unofficially the unemployment rate could be slightly higher,” Tait said. “If your [employment insurance] runs out, you’re no longer [considered] unemployed and if you’re on income assistance you’re not unemployed, so we still have people looking.

“But we also have companies looking for people and that’s a good thing and these job fairs are very handy because employers can very quickly discern and staff up and that’s why they tend to like coming to them,” Tait said

So far, Tait has not seen much fallout from layoffs in the Alberta oil industry and does not expect to for several weeks until laid-off workers find out if they’re called back. He knows of a couple of local employers who received calls directly from tradespeople out of work in Alberta.

The job fair is hosted at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre from 1-4 p.m.

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