Record numbers looking for jobs 

Whistler-Blackcomb job fair draws 2,200; Employment Centre sees 2,500 in October

As Whistler-Blackcomb’s annual job search winds down and several of the big hotels and bars decide who they want to hire for the 2004-05 season, another major job fair is about to start.

The Employment Centre, which is run by Whistler Community Services Society, will be hosting its job fair in the Telus Conference Centre on Nov. 9 and 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This job fair will include most of the businesses in Whistler that are not owned or operated by Whistler-Blackcomb.

Employment Centre Manager Marta Sutherland said the centre had been operating "way above capacity" in an effort to help a lot of young people find jobs and get ready for this fair.

"We’ve never had so many numbers in here, even when we were in the old trailer," said Sutherland. "We’ve had about 2,500 people through here this month (October)."

Sutherland said most of the people she was seeing were attending all the job fairs, but some of them will not get jobs with Whistler-Blackcomb and these are the people she hopes will find a good job at the employment centre’s fair.

"Our fair is a two-day event and it’s first come, first served on the 9 th ," she said. "We’ll do the screening for the various companies on the first day to make sure they’re qualified candidates and then they can apply for two positions and come back for the interviews on the 10th."

Interested applicants should bring three resumes – one each for the employers that conduct the interviews on the 10th, and another one for a general "jobs board" should an applicant be unable to get an interview for a specific job.

Sutherland said the first day of the fair will be just screening and those individual interviews should take about 15 minutes. She added that these interviews would not be like W-B’s "company fit" interviews, in that the screeners would be there to gather qualifications and give advice, not to give potential employees a personality test.

"Not all companies are requesting that you have four years experience as a rental technician or anything like that; most kids have some experience because they’ve worked at school for McDonald’s, or they’ve done baby sitting.

"In any case there should be some work experience there and some companies are willing to look at them because it’s more about attitude than about real skills."

Last year the Employment Centre’s job fair was cancelled due to a lack of funds and Sutherland confirmed that it had taken a monumental effort from her staff to get all the separate businesses involved and ready for this year’s fair.

"Usually we get around 400-500 kids in, and this year we’ve got a really good spectrum of companies. We’ve got lots of restaurants, although they’re not all looking for servers; most are looking for line cooks and such.

"Nesters is involved, The Grocery Store and Perimeter is looking for bus drivers, the two taxi companies, cleaning, reception jobs, reservations and retail stores and also Starbucks. So far we’ve got about 37 businesses, which is much better than last time because we’ve traditionally only had about 22-24 businesses."

For more information on the job fair visit the Employment Centre inside the Chamber of Commerce building, which is above the visitor’s centre next to the taxi loop.

Whistler-Blackcomb reassures potential employees

Despite a record turnout, Whistler-Blackcomb Recruiting Manager Karen Bauckham said the mountain had hired "cautiously" this year but would be looking to hire more people soon.

During the past two weeks W-B has been running it’s annual job fair where approximately 1,500 people are hired for winter positions on the mountain.

"We’ve had more people then ever before… it’s up around the 2,200 mark," said Bauckham before the fair had finished Tuesday, Nov. 2.

She said Whistler-Blackcomb had to be careful during the first wave of hiring because it is hard to tell what kind of season it’s going to be and also to make sure that the people who do get jobs, get enough hours.

"It’s always disappointing to turn people away but if they can wait a little bit longer and be a bit more patient something usually comes up," she said. "People won’t know if they have a job with us until Nov. 8 and 9, because that’s when we give the call backs."

Bauckham said all the W-B managers will be keeping lists of the people they interviewed and should any problems arise during the next two weeks they will start calling in more people.

"In our experience we do have some turnover because not everybody is going to accept the job offer and people have emergencies and need to leave Whistler.

"So we’re always recruiting, there’s usually a couple of weeks quietness but especially if the snow comes sooner rather than later, then people should be checking the Web site and back up at the cabin (at Base II on Blackcomb) because we might need a new wave of people for December."

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