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

Northwest couples compete at His and Hers golf tournament in Prince Rupert

Kitimat and Smithers couples take home the hardware

100 years since the surrender of Simon Gunanoot

The famed Gitsxan hunter was a fugitive for 13 years

Smithers celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

The day included dancing, singing, a moose call contest and a soapberry ice cream tutorial.

UNBC researcher leads study on cannabis-impaired driving

Dr. Russ Callaghan hypothesizes increased motor vehicle collision injuries among young people

Bestselling Indigenous author enlightens Smithers audience on the Indian Act

Bob Joseph is the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Most Read