TRU Job fair attracts hundreds of eager job seekers

By Vanessa Ybarra
March 2, 2017 - 6:21pm

KAMLOOPS — Thompson Rivers University held it's annual job fair Thursday and more than 70 employers from around the region showed up to take part.

Companies specializing in everything from hospitality to trades, even military forces were on hand to speak with students about their options after graduation.

The job fair is in it's 19th year and in that time employment opportunities have changed significantly.

"The challenge with so many students in post-secondary, there is a lot of competition," said Larry Isles, Career Counsellor with Thompson Rivers University. 

"At jobs like these students have a chance to network, met people and find out what's going on in their field of study," said Isles. "The networking alone is the best part for students. The stats tell us over 70% of people still find jobs because they know somebody."

This is 18-year-old Melina Potvin's first year enrolled in the bachelor of tourism management program at TRU.

Like a lot of the students at the event, Potvin is seeking a summer job that, if she plays her cards right, will morph into a full-time job after graduation.

"I was really interested in the Tim Hortons foundation with summer camps for the kids," said Potvino. It seemed really noble." 

For her, social skills aren't an issue.

It's more teens seeking industry-related summer work that's made competition tougher.

"I feel like people are getting jobs more at a younger age," added Potvino. "I feel like people are being more selective with who they will let into their education, so you have to get a higher education than before to compete with everyone else to get the job."

Trades students, including 22-year-old Michael Bigam, made up a good portion of the more than 1,500job seekers at the event.

With the Kamloops resident recently completing a six-month welding program at TRU his focus has turned to getting a job. 

"I need to get 4,200 hours to be able to go for my journeyman or red seal," said Bigam.

For Michael, he says Alberta's recovering oil-and-gas sector has many people looking to B.C making it tougher to land a job.

"Because Alberta is facing a crisis right now, people are kind of fleeing those places and going elsewhere, which makes it harder for people to get jobs where they were raised," added Bigam. "I want to go down to the coast because I feel there's a lot more opportunity than in Kamloops at the moment."

While today's competition and selection process may be tougher than 30 years ago, there are more options available.

"Students coming to an event like this, being really career aware while they're in school and not just graduating out and looing for work will really help once they graduate and get out there."

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