WorkBC Employment Services Centres increase the odds for those seeking a job

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Being unemployed doesn’t mean you’re on your own when trying to find work. That’s because the B.C. government’s employment program, WorkBC, offers job seekers a variety of free services to increase their chance of getting hired.

      Cindy Reeves is a case manager at the Career Zone in downtown Vancouver, one of the WorkBC employment-services centres located in Metro Vancouver. At these WorkBC centres, people are screened to determine what services they’re eligible for. Anyone looking for work has access to free computers and photocopying.

      “There’s someone working on the floor who can help connect people to resources,” Reeves said. “If someone is feeling a bit stuck in their job search, we might have some advice and tools that help to encourage them.”

      Job seekers are eligible for case-management services if they’re permanent residents—though refugee claimants may also qualify—and not full-time students. WorkBC centres can also provide transit fares to those who require this assistance to attend an employment interview.

      That’s not all. “If they have a job offer but they need transportation supports to their first paycheque, we can provide that as long as they come in and show us a confirmed job offer,” Reeves said. “Or if the employer is saying you have to show up with a hard hat and construction boots, for example—if they have evidence of that—we can provide them vouchers in order to go out and get those things.”

      The Career Zone is one of the WorkBC youth centres and is restricted to those between 16 and 30 years of age, but there is no upper age limit at the other centres.

      Reeves said that WorkBC can also create training plans for people in three categories: those who have had an employment-insurance claim in the past, have a disability, or are on income assistance. It’s also possible to have the cost of books subsidized.

      “We can cover up to $7,500 in tuition,” Reeves stated.

      The overarching goal is to help job seekers find lasting employment. And Reeves acknowledged that Vancouver is a very expensive city, which is why training is sometimes the key to surviving economically over the long term.

      But even for those who don’t enter WorkBC–funded training programs, there are short-term measures that can help their odds of being hired.

      “Sometimes, even just coming and meeting with a case manager and then attending a workshop on self-marketing, for example, can be the missing piece to give somebody a little bit of motivation and a little bit of edge over other job seekers,” Reeves said, “because we’re giving them the latest on how to be competitive in those interviews.”

      So what does Reeves like best about her job? She responded that it’s when someone gets back on their feet with a new occupation.

      “It’s really fantastic when their self-esteem goes up and they realize that they can get a job and they achieve that,” Reeves said. “It’s awesome. But my favourite thing is when somebody does the training plan and completes it successfully and then gets a job.”

      There are 13 WorkBC employment-services centres in Vancouver and on the North Shore. Home addresses determine which centre to visit, and there is a map showing the closest to you at .