If you’re looking for a job, chances are you have walked into the Ponoka Employment Centre but not many businesses take advantage of this connection to the workforce.
To educate businesses the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce invited Tom Benoit, employment counsellor with the Ponoka and District Employment Service Centre, to speak on its benefits.
Benoit and Norma Gauthier provide special training to those who need it. “The services that we provide are targeting both the job seekers and the labour force in the area, and the employers.”
By a show of hands most chamber members in attendance do not use the centre to find staff but Benoit sees this as an opportunity to drive interest.
Because the centre is under contract with the Alberta Government, they are required to provide a certain level of service. “We don’t just help people looking for a job.”
For those who are looking for a job the centre does skill development to get clients ready for an interview. “We are also able to offer what are called exposure courses.”
These courses give jobseekers specific certificate training such as H2S and transportation of dangerous goods. Certificates are generally related to the trades.
“And then we get into the actual job search,” he stated.
Staff research job openings for an area and post it on their jobs board. He finds employers use Kijiji quite frequently to post a job opening. As more people use smartphones they will also search websites easy to access through mobile applications.
“At present day in the job search market, Kijiji is one of the first sites that people go to,” said Benoit.
He finds many people come to view the job board and some of those searchers already have a job but are looking to advance their careers. Counsellors help put resumes together and track leads. Applicants have access to a telephone and fax in to get their information to potential employers. “We are able to provide some job maintenance services.”
Benoit can also assist workers who are having trouble in a workplace; employees can work with counsellors to find a solution. This is where they can also help employers with wording for ads and even retention ideas.
“We’re available to come up with ideas to do training courses,” said Benoit. “A little bit of investment in skill training and development can go a long way towards improving the productivity of your company.”
He suggests employees’ happiness and satisfaction makes a better work environment. Benoit has been approached by Sarah Olson, economic development officer for the Town of Ponoka, to brainstorm ideas for working with the Hobbema workforce.