The new faces at the WorkBC office in Ashcroft are (from left) Christy Barrie; Katherine Allen; Jocelyn Child; and Tanni Bangham. Photo: Barbara Roden

WorkBC helping break down barriers to employment

Office offers a wide range of services to help people find sustainable careers

The WorkBC office in Ashcroft is under new management, but it still offers the same wide variety of services to people in the region who are unemployed, underemployed, or need help in the search for a job. The office will be holding an Open House celebration on Monday, June 24 to which all are welcome.

Christy Barrie, the site supervisor for the office, says that all the WorkBC contracts were up for negotiation earlier this year. “Some offices stayed the same, and some bid on other areas,” she explains. “We [Community Futures Thompson Country] had the Merritt office before, and now we have the WorkBC offices in Ashcroft and Lillooet as well.”

She says that staff at the office are able to help people write resumes and cover letters, and will help them prepare for interviews. “We have a lot of job search resources, and there are computer work stations in the office that people can use for job search purposes.”

Among the case management services offered are skills training and short term certifications in courses such as Industrial First Aid, WHMIS, and FoodSafe. Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to call the office at (250) 453-2499, or drop by and talk to staff.

WorkBC also offers work experience placements. “We help clients with these opportunities,” says Barrie, noting that the program offers employers a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of wages for up to 24 weeks.

“It’s not meant for employers to get an extra set of hands on the job,” explains Barrie, who says that the wage subsidy reflects the fact that participants in the program will need some training. “The goal is to get people that training and ultimately have it lead to permanent employment for that person.” She welcomes inquieires from any employers who would like to learn more about the program.

The office can also purchase assistive technology — such as ergonomic keyboards, hearing aids, and voice-to-type aids — to help people with disabilities. “Having a disability can be a huge barrier [to employment]. We want to get people to work, and eliminate barriers, whatever they are and as best we can, so that people can have a rewarding career.”

WorkBC can also help people who have been offered a job by providing them with specialized equipment they might need in order to start work.

“Sometimes people get a job offer and they want to accept, but the company says they need a hard hat or work boots. We can help them with that, but only in the first two weeks of employment, before they get their first paycheque.

“What we want to do is eliminate barriers, to help people find a sustainable, fulfilling job.”

The Open House celebration at the WorkBC office in Ashcroft (124 4th Street) takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 24, and anyone who wants to drop by, meet the new team, and learn more is welcome. There will be coffee and snacks available, and attendees will have their name entered in a draw for a door prize.

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