For several years now, I have been involved with provincial and federal government funded Labour Market Partnerships working towards improving the inclusion of First Nations communities in the Lower Vancouver Island Industry workforce. Our collective goal is to create strategies and tools focused on the employment development issues facing First Nations participation in the local workforce.
We have held successful luncheon meetings, full day forums, organized Industry Bus Tours (https://mfgcln.com/2019/07/18/first-nations-industry-bus-tour-june-2019/), created podcasts (https://mfgcln.com/category/first-nations-podcasts/) and generated blogs (https://mfgcln.com/category/first-nations-blogs/) towards strengthening the regional Industrial sector and First Nations labour market focussed relationships. The COVID health crisis interrupted this relationship development momentum and we adapted to a digital ZOOM based environment. Obviously nothing replaces face to face interactions and we look forward to resuming “normal” business meetings in a post COVID world. Nonetheless we push ahead within a “let’s get it done” attitude. We’ve implemented monthly HR & Education representative ZOOM luncheon meetings and on October 28th held our inaugural Job/Relationship online ZOOM based forum. However we made some modifications to maintain positive ROI within an online environment.
Traditional Job Fair forums have generally been held in school gyms and/or community recreation halls. Companies have purchased space in and around the hall space and created animated, colorful and information filled spaces often incorporating tantalizing candy treats and corporate schwagg. Attendees would mull about the forum area learning, talking and exchanging business cards where applicable. Those were the “old” days. We had to re-invent this process as best we could …and we were successful!
Integral to the digital environment transference is re-enforcing and strengthening the relationship between the HR and Education representatives of both communities. These folks have become the new-age spokespeople for their community of current and potential employees. COVID does not allow for random relationship and information exchanges. Online digital interactions do not readily provide for the idle chit-chat and nuanced information exchanges of face to face interactions. So we created five fifteen minute information blocks allowing for participating employers to introduce themselves, present brief corporate overviews, job and skill-set reviews and corporate cultural summaries. Participating companies included:
Terra Remote – (https://www.terraremote.com/ – North Saanich) – Terra Remote Sensing Inc. (Terra) is a remote sensing company specializing in the acquisition, analyses, and production of spatial data. We are an organization offering world-class expertise and technology in digital airborne mapping (LiDAR, digital and hyperspectral imagery) as well as hydrographic charting, marine multi-beam bathymetry marine geophysics, and GIS support services.
Epicure – (https://epicure.com/en-ca/about – North Saanich) – They are a community that unites and inspires each other to rally around healthy eating. Epicure is dedicated to sharing delicious meal solutions that use only real, whole ingredients you can trust, while never ever compromising on taste.
Quester Tangent – (https://www.questertangent.com/ – Central Saanich) – Quester Tangent is a trusted partner of the world’s major train manufacturers and transit authorities. They offer flexible, modular, scalable electronic products to rail vehicle manufacturers and transit authorities that enable the efficient movement of people and goods.
Ralmax Group – (https://ralmax.com/ – Sidney) – Ralmax Group of Companies is a diversified group of local industrial businesses focused in and around Victoria’s working harbour. The companies within the group include Ralmax Contracting Ltd., Ellice Recycle Ltd., Point Hope Maritime Ltd., Trio Ready-Mix Ltd., United Engineering Ltd., Ralmax Properties Ltd., Chew Excavating Ltd., Esquimalt Drydock Company and Nixon Bros. Truck Repair Ltd. The Ralmax Group is also a partner in Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
Schneider Electric – (https://www.se.com/ca/en/ – Central Saanich) – Schneider Electric is a French multinational company providing energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability. It addresses homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries, by combining energy technologies, real-time automation, software and services.
First Nations representatives from Tsawout (Employment, Training & Support Services Manager & Education Manager), Coast Salish Employment & Training Society – CSETS (Program & Employability Officer) & Victoria Native Friendship Centre – VNFC (Director of Career, Employment, Education Resources Dept & CEER Career Transition Guide) were in attendance and very engaged with questions and comments.
As these relationships continue to develop and strengthen, potential employees and interested individuals will be introduced and participate in future online digital job/relationship building forums. We will also be building an employer video catalogue for First Nations HR and Education representatives to showcase our Lower VI Industry and Manufacturing companies to employee candidates for familiarization, relationship building and information purposes.
We are successfully re-inventing the traditional Job Fair onto a digital environment and implementing the “let’s get it done” attitude to the regional Industry and First Nations Labour Market relationships.