Step by Step: Calling All Grads!

Hats off to the future

-By Susan Biagi
So many choices, so little time! With graduation looming, many students feel pressured to make a career choice. “Do I go to university? Get a job? Enroll in trades training? Volunteer overseas?”

We at Career Link can help:
1. Go to university? With costs the way they are, this is not a decision that should be made lightly. At the University of Victoria, students pay $15,500 a year on average, once living expenses are factored in. At today’s prices, a four-year degree represents an overall investment of $62,000. Some degrees are a wise investment: a Bachelor of Nursing is almost certain to result in a well-paid job. Other degrees, such as a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Anthropology, may not pay for themselves in quite the same way. Researching the options in advance will prevent headaches down the road.
For grads who balk at university, there are a host of college programs to choose from, ranging from one to three years. Wise grads choose a program that helps them enter the workforce as quickly as possible. Later, if they choose, graduates of these programs can pick up additional courses, thereby “laddering”  their diploma into a university degree. 
A third option is to enroll in post-secondary programs delivered over the Internet. Such programs can offer significant cost-of-living savings, by allowing students to study from home. For more information on these and other training options, check out the Career Link education and training webpage at
A word of caution: Carefully research the institution before embarking on a post-secondary program. Private institutions especially can vary widely in quality.
2. Get a job? Entering the workforce immediately after graduation helps new grads “try on” a career while gaining valuable skills. While formal, on-the-job training is not as common as it once was, there are still some industries that help ambitious young people rise through the ranks. Banking is a notable example.
A word of caution: Failure to use this time wisely can leave grads trapped in a low-paid, dead-end job. Focus on a) identifying jobs with prospects for advancement, or b) investigating post-secondary training, while putting some money aside for tuition.
3. Trades training?  The current shortage of skilled tradespeople provides today’s grads with a host of exciting opportunities. In BC, there are two routes a new grad can take to acquire trades certification:
a) Enter the workforce directly by finding an employer willing to comply with all the requirements set out by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), or
b) Enroll in an entry-level trades training program at a recognized college. While this is a more expensive option than direct entry into the workforce, it is a good alternative in an economy where few employers are willing to train apprentices.

4. Volunteer? There are several options for youth seeking to develop their skills in a challenging environment:
a) Katimavik offers youth aged 17 to 21 the opportunity to participate in volunteer projects across Canada. The organization covers the cost of travel, housing, food, and basic necessities. A small contribution is required from participants.
b) Canada World Youth (CWY) provides youth aged 15 to 29 with the opportunity to live in other countries while developing their leadership skills. Participants are required to fundraise $2,800 (with help from CWY) to cover costs.
c) International Youth Programs: Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 can obtain a one-year working visa in a number of countries. To initiate the process, go to and click on the “Youth and Education” tab.
Grads struggling with their next step are invited to call 604-485-7958 to book an appointment with one of Career Link’s job coaches. Try it. It’s easy and it’s free!

Powell River Job Market Snapshot

It’s time to share some labour market news from Career Link for the month of May in beautiful, sunny Powell River.

From our view point on Marine Avenue, we see the prawn boats out daily, the finishing touches underway on our Waterfront Revitalization Projects and step back when full logging trucks come barreling down the street.

Career Link’s website and social media channels posted, tweeted and shared 105 Powell River job opportunities – maybe that’s why our website traffic was our highest ever at 9004 visitors in May? 

Our employment counsellors happily report that 65 Career Link clients found jobs in May, bringing our total for the year up to 305 employed clients – perhaps that number alone is reason for some readers to make an appointment with an employment counsellor too.

While it felt a bit quieter in the restaurant and retail sector after that flurry of job postings in the early Spring, the month of May had her own story to tell.

Here’s a job market snapshot as we captured it:

  • Powell River’s hotels are seeking housekeepers and reservation attendants.
  • We noted financial services businesses seeking Customer Service Representatives (a.k.a. Tellers) and Managers.  Those jobs are usually posted on individual company websites because they want people to apply using their on-line feature.
  • A number of new jobs in the education sector popped up ranging from ESL teachers at Camber College, Preschool Teachers and Educational Assistants at the Powell River Christian School to Instructors needed for the Fall at VIU.
  • The Social Services field has opportunities for program assistants, coordinators and even employment counsellors. 
  • The landscaping industry is very busy with one landscaper telling us if you’ve got a mower there are lawns to cut.
  • An aquaculture operator just hired 6 new staff and is hoping to hire one more person; ideally a recent grad from an Aquaculture Technician Program.
  • Local labourers and contractors are working on Haslam Street at the City’s Drinking Water System Upgrade project. Career Link had a job posting for a Self-Erecting Tower Crane Operator as part of that project.
  •  Lots of employers took advantage of the government’s Canada Summer Jobs 2011 funding incentive to hire full-time students. Employers including Beach Gardens Marina, Family Place, Tourism Powell River and the Forestry Museum  got word last week their requests were approved and they could go ahead and post their student jobs.
  • We continue to have a number of local individuals posting casual jobs seeking child care providers, gardeners and housecleaning.

So what’s next? We are keeping our eyes and ears open for potential work at:

  • The new Westview Elementary School building site operated by Yellowridge Construction. The Board for School District 47  tells us a job fair seeking labourers will happen soon and we may know more about this by the end of June.
  • Invasive plant management work coming to the Powell River region under the province’s Take Action plan. We are waiting to hear final funding amounts.
  • We were pleased to hear of plans to build a new complex care facility (replacing Olive Devaud) with construction hopefully starting in February, 2012.

Do you want information on Powell River jobs and employers? Maybe we have a contact name to help you make that first contact or you want to expand your job search list of potential employers;  Career Link would be pleased to help! Just call us at 604.485.7958 or drop by 4511 Marine Avenue Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and we will work with you.

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