(Chris Bush/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

VIDEO: Trades jobs the way of the future on Vancouver Island?

Hundreds of people attend Black Press Career Fair in Nanaimo

Throngs of prospective employees, employers and job seekers are buzzing around Nanaimo Military Camp for Black Press’ Extreme Career Fair.

Vancouver Island University is on hand telling the crowd about its trades programs, programs that could lead to employment. With the trades job market expected to be hot, trades training could be a route prospective workers could consider when job hunting, says a university dean.

Glynis Steen, VIU dean of trades and applied technology, said the job market is thriving.

“The job market is booming, if we take a look at construction happening on the Island, whether it’s residential or commercial, we look at our forest industry, by 2022 they’re saying one million job openings that are going to require a trades or a technical background ….”

It is hard to predict future job markets, but Steen did forecast what jobs could be in demand.

“If I look at just our recent graduate market and our automotive mechanics, heavy-duty mechanics, if I look at coming out of our heavy equipment operator program, our students are finding jobs,” said Steen.

“The job market is out there. Employers are actually calling us.”

Recent developments with federal cannabis-related legislation won’t have a bearing on medicinal marijuana company Tilray, but nevertheless, it is still seeking workers of all skill levels.

There are vacancies across numerous Tilray divisions and Christopher Paradis, with Tilray human resources, said he doesn’t think the company has ever had a time where there haven’t been job requisitions and vacancies. There is a wide spectrum of available jobs.

“The company has a marketing division, it has a facilities and maintenance division, so there’s quite a few broad parts of the company especially with business process improvements, IT, stuff like that, that falls out of, what you would call the conventional working with the product,” said Paradis. “There’s a lot of divisions in the company that we’re fleshing out right now.”

Matt Stringer was among those seeking employment and was interested in what the fair had to offer.

“There’s lots of options here and I have some technical experience and the idea of public service is kind of appealing to me, so this signal regiment thing (with the Armed Forces) is really interesting,” said Stringer. “I like working with technology … I did a quick walkaround and there’s definitely places I would like to talk to.

“There’s a couple of financial places. I have experience in financial institutions, so I’m definitely going to drop off a resume there.”

Meurig Murray hopes to get into the trades and said he hopes to get into VIU next year. He has a background in trades and aspires to get into heavy equipment operation.

“What I’m starting to learn is that there’s a real, I guess, gap between the Baby Boomers and the aspiring raising of the new employees, so it seems like the gap now is mainly in the entry levels and supervisor/manager levels … they’re all maybe anywhere from five to 10 years away from retirement. It just seems like a really good time to enter the workforce in general, so I’m trying to find the best place that suits my needs and gives me a living wage,” said Murray.

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