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Recharge Your Career conference deepens understanding of alternative careers

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As the group of more than 100 newcomer job seekers waited outside the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch on the morning of Tuesday, October 12, you could feel the uncertainty.

What on earth was going to happen here? A conference inside the library? How could that event possibly take place in a location regularly designated for quiet study?

Six hours later, as the event wrapped up, conference attendees knew the answer: it unfolded with a slate of cooperative activities provided by VPL, MAPLE 2.0 and ISSofBC, along with several more partnering organizations. It was an animated, fun and informative exchange of ideas and tips for getting credentials and broadening job searches to include aligned occupations that are rewarding and use professional skills.

Multiple direct linkages between regulators, employers and job seekers, matched with a greater understanding of each other’s perspectives, are just a couple of the results we’ve seen so far.

The conference brought together nine employers, three regulators, home inspection franchiser Buyer’s Choice and job seekers for a day of talks and discussions about alternative careers for tech professionals from regulated fields. Presentations, roundtables and Q&A’s focused on Engineering, ICT and Life/Environmental Sciences. The sessions were held on three different floors of VPL with contributions from 34 speakers that continued throughout the day.

Regulator representatives included APEGBC’s Caroline Westra, ASTTBC’s Geoff Sale and EOCP’s Kalpna Solanki. Employer speakers included managers and hiring staff from several organizations which included:

Translink, Unifiller, Traction on Demand, Metro Vancouver, Symmetry Lighting, Schneider Electric, ION Trading, Paladin Security, Maxxam Analytics, ZE Power, Envisioning Labs and Organika. Each representative shared insights about her or his organization’s hiring practices and experiences hiring newcomers into alternative careers.

During and after the talks, job seekers had a chance to ask questions about past and future openings and how to achieve more success in competitions. Newcomers left the conference encouraged; employers left the library excited about ongoing conversations with potential new employees with exceptional tech skills.

For many job seekers, the final conference section featuring talks from newcomers, who have either opted for alternative careers or who passed through them into regulated jobs, was the biggest hit. The stories of the personal career journeys experienced by nine newcomers in each of the three technology sectors demonstrated the importance of persistence, resilience and flexibility, to name just a few qualities.

Although the conference has completed, our alternative careers tools and materials are still available and can be freely used and downloaded. Please check our IMPACT pages to get more information:

IMPACT – Alternative Careers in Technology

We’d be delighted to hear from you and to answer any questions you have about alternative careers. Contact issbcimpact@gmail.com for more details. We’ll also be following up with people who attended the event, so please check back for more details on this blog.

ISSofBC would like to thank the many organizations and individuals that made Recharge Your Career possible. Thank you to:

  • The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training for providing support for the event and to Eben Watt, Director, Workforce Mobility, for opening the conference;
  • The speakers and contributors listed above who brought so much current labour market information to the event;
  • VPL and its amazing staff, especially Skilled Immigrant Info Centre Coordinator Jorge Cardenas who was one of the original event planners and who overcame all sorts of difficulties through creative thinking and persistence;
  • MAPLE 2.0’s National Programs and Communications Manager Carmen Munoz for seeing the value in the conference and Vancouver Representatives Freda Fernandes, Ines Montoya and Nilusha Paroo who linked us to so many of their Employer and Newcomer speakers;
  • ISSofBC’s Employer Solutions Team, especially Venus Rollo and Mary Tecson who linked us to their Employer and Newcomer Speakers;
  • ISSofBC’s flexible, capable volunteers, who assisted with a wide range of tasks before and during the event, and Volunteer Coordinator Elmir Ismayilov who linked us to this talented team;
  • ISSofBC LINC staff and instructors who gave us class time to preview the conference for their clients and especially Instructor Donna Mackniak who created a field trip for tech language students and participated with them at the conference.
  • ISSofBC Employment and Settlement staff who also jumped in and helped in diverse and creative ways;
  • Pizza Hut, for providing a generous delivery of delicious mega pizzas and ISSofBC’s Employer Solutions for providing similarly delicious sandwiches for the lunch for speakers, volunteers and conference staff.

Would you like to comment on the event? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or email issbcimpact@gmail.com.

View photos of the event

Gwen PawlikowskiAbout the Author:
Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.

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