By Travis Schneider and Kattelin Mitchell

This article is from the August 2018 Issue of Forever Young

FYng Aug 2018 Feature Image

How do I choose the right career for me and find meaningful work?
How do I explain large gaps in my work history? I am nervous that my previous work experience is no longer relevant.
How can I sharpen my skills for the job market, including my computer skills?
My networking and interview skills are rusty. How can I improve them?
Do I have to target my resume for each employer? Can’t I just hand out the same one to all employers?
How has the labour market changed since I last looked for work?

These are just some of the questions that job seekers have been facing here in the Central Okanagan. Here at KCR - Community Resources, our Employment Services team works with job seekers to address these issues and others to help them secure meaningful work.

When looking for work, it is important to find the right fit: a position that you feel passionate about. This will lead to your increased happiness and capacity to do the job well and, therefore, employers will also be more satisfied with your work. KCR’s Employment programs include many different assessment tools to help you discover what type of jobs would be a good fit for you. Our Facilitators work together with the group to help them self-discover what is important to them.

One program participant said "I have been out of the workplace for far too long and I became afraid to go back to work due to many barriers; but KCR's Essential skills course is the very excellent move I made to confront those fears." Our team will work together with program participants to help build up their confidence and explain gaps in their employment history. Participants who have been out of the workforce for as long as 20 years have been able to discover their hidden talents, realize how much they have to offer the community, and secure meaningful work as a result of attending KCR Employment programs.

At KCR you can continue to learn and sharpen your skills through our 7-week in-class programs as well as gain short-term training certificates relevant to your career path. Our past participants have appreciated the opportunity to increase their skills; "I want to thank you for teaching the Essential Skills for College and Trades training program. Over the course time and the subsequent job mentoring, I was encouraged and strengthened in not only my math, literacy and computer skills but also in my confidence and esteem."

“You can always improve on your networking and interview skills” says Travis Schneider, Employment Services Manager. “The labour market in the Central Okanagan relies heavily on face-to-face communication. Although it can seem scary to go out and market yourself to a potential employer, we make it fun and we help you practice in a comfortable setting.” As part of our programs, we help our participants step by step to build and improve their networking skills. We even offer a videotaped mock interview session so you can see what you look like in an interview setting. With this in-depth understanding of the interview process and how to best respond to those difficult questions, participants increase their confidence and, in turn, receive more job offers.

A targeted resume caters to a specific job posting, showcasing that you have taken the time and effort to create a resume specifically for that employer. “Employers constantly come back to us saying how much they value the amount of relevant details they find in our participants’ resumes,” says Travis Schneider. “If you have an extensive work history, we work with you to decide what work experience helps best set you up for attaining that job. It is difficult for an employer to read an 8-page resume and figure out what work experience is relevant to the position.” Our programs are designed to teach you the skills to write effective resumes that employers want to read, which then results in an invitation for an interview.

Our Employment Enhancement Specialists are out hitting the pavement every day, talking with employers about their current needs. We bring this information and knowledge to participants as part of our programs as well as teaching you vital skills to find out more about your career of choice.

KCR has offered employment services in the Okanagan for over 20 years. Throughout the years, we have helped a multitude of people get the skills they need to find meaningful work. Currently, we are serving participants through our Job Readiness and Essential Skills programs, which are funded through the Canada-BC Workforce Agreement (formerly the Canada-BC Job Fund).

Our Job Readiness program specializes in helping those with self-disclosed disabilities, older workers (50+), and immigrants to look for work. Our Essential Skills program focuses on helping participants to improve their Math, Reading, and/or Study skills to return to work or school. If you are a BC resident over the age of 18 who is not eligible for EI, please contact us for more details at 250-763-8008. In addition, we can support our participants with certain work-related costs, such as: further short-term training, work clothing and work wear, transportation supports, and wage subsidies.

To date we have had the privilege of serving over 360 participants in these two employment programs, with an average of 80% of those completing the program going on to re-enter the workforce or go back to school. Participants in our programs take full advantage of the supports and training we offer to help them decide on their career, boost their computer skills, increase their job search skills (e.g., resume, cover letter, online job applications), and learn to network effectively all with the end goal of finding work or returning to school.

Our past participants have provided the following comments about our programs:

"I have been trying to find the words to show my gratitude but apparently, there are too many. I will just go ahead and say, that you are truly passionate about the work you do and it really shows. I see it everyday, whether through your classes or even just interactions. I feel like you really want the best for all of us. I am so happy to have you on my side as a part of my "get to success" team."

"The whole environment at KCR fosters productivity and growth. You can just feel that everyone is rooting for your success. It also shows that it is a positive work environment, all the team members get along and things seem to always flow together. I hope one day to find such an organization as this, where I am sure to flourish and thrive with the sense of community that is in the air."

"KCR team...you guys rock and should be very, very proud of yourselves for what you do. Giving someone a sense of purpose and independence can make all the difference in the world."

If you are interested in more information about our employment programs, we have information sessions at 620 Leon Ave. every Tuesday at 1:30pm, or you can call us at 250-763-8008.

For employers interested in posting on our job board, or interested in future events like our job fair, please e-mail Travis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Funding for these programs is provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.