Loxx Academy of Hair Design student Laticia Aksidan

High hopes at Hazeltons careers fair

With resources jobs on the horizon, there was optimism in the air at a careers fair in the Hazeltons last week.

The parking lot is full at Hagwilget Hall in the Hazeltons and inside the room is filled with voices.

There are children with balloons and people are helping themselves to a spread of fruit and sandwiches. Everyone seems excited.

The atmosphere is like that of a fair pavilion on show day, but instead of home-baked apple pies and knit sweaters on the tables there are flyers and pamphlets.

Today is the Gitanmaax Careers Fair, and in the Hazeltons,  it is a community gathering.

Organized by the Gitanmaax Band and the Northwest Community College, the annual event is in its fourth year.

About 400 people were expected to attend the jobs showcase, but Gitanmaax Band corporate affairs director Monica Simms said the crowd seemed bigger this year.

The stallholders are a combination of employers, educational institutes and funding-providers.

Simms said that was part of the appeal of the fair, that it provided a “one-stop-shop” for discovering not only opportunities but tangible ways of pursuing them.

But this year, there’s a feeling of optimism at the fair.

Speaking at the event, Simms said people were excited about the possibility of new jobs from proposed resource and LNG projects across the north.

For a community with high unemployment rates, big mining projects bring hope for a more prosperous future.

They would also fill a gap in the local job market, which took a heavy blow from the closure of three sawmills in the early 2000s.

Since then, Simms said the community had been forced to adapt to a new type of workforce.

“With the mining industry really starting to open up in the North that has provided more employment opportunities but also a change in mindset,” said Simms.

“Where before it was like ‘I’m working nine to five, I’m in my hometown’, now it’s like camp jobs where they go away for two weeks at a time … so it is a whole different experience to what they are used to.”

As a result, she said people were looking to Prince Rupert, Kitimat and beyond for employment.

But most of the jobs aren’t available yet.

Spectra Energy community co-ordinator Graham Genge said his company’s presence at the fair was about providing information to help people prepare for jobs which are still in the pipeline.

Spectra wants to transport LNG from northeast B.C. to Ridley Island near Prince Rupert but the project is still a proposal.

“Currently we’re just sharing opportunities that would happen in pre-construction and construction,” said Genge.

“We’ve got a list of … job roles that would be more specific to our project and some of the steps that people would take to upskill or train to get the skills to work in this field.

“Currently there’s no field work going on with our project so those opportunities are very limited.”

Seabridge Gold was also at the careers fair to talk about its proposed gold, copper silver and molybdenum mine in northwest B.C.

The KSM Project, which would be located about 65 kilometres northwest of Stewart, would employ about 1,800 people during its five year construction.

But those jobs are also still on the horizon.

“The executives at Seabridge really believe we need to build the mine from the ground up and that’s why they see these communities … as really important places to start building those relationships with people and also building the workforce,” said project permitting coordinator Jessy Chaplin.

“We’re giving people advice for how to prepare for when we go into construction.”

Despite the prevalence of the resources industry at the fair, a broad spectrum of other sectors were also represented.

Careers in hairdressing, policing, the military, sales and dentistry were also promoted.

For one group of Hazelton Secondary School students, the careers fair opened doors to new possibilities, and a chance to experience life outside the Hazeltons.

Grade 9 student Kiara Brown-Martin spent some time at the Vancouver Island University stall.

“I’m kind of interested in marine biology,” said Brown-Martin.

“It’s just so cool.”

 

 

Just Posted

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The framework for reconciliation

Guest View from writers involved in the United Nations declaration.

Lego League provincial champions

Smithers’ Marley and Amelie are B.C. Lego League champions, and are fundraising to compete in Texas.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read