Alberta Career Week
Join us at events across Alberta offering career and employment services.
April 23 to April 27, 2018 is Alberta Career Week
Are you looking for a job, exploring your career options, or researching education and training programs? More than 150 career events are planned across the province during Alberta Career Week, April 23-27, to help you take that next step in your career. If you’re looking for inspiration, read the success stories about other Albertans who used the career, employment and training programs available in their communities to achieve their career goals.
From couch surfing to camp custodian
After living on income support and couch surfing with family, Andrea decided it was time to make a change. She was determined to gain financial independence while maintaining a close connection to her community of Ermineskin.
Motivated to find the right opportunity, Andrea was intrigued with the Camp Attendant/Custodian program, a pilot project offered through Ermineskin Industrial Relations and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). She eagerly applied and acceptance into the program started her life’s new journey
Thanks to her hard work and the program, Andrea developed new skills, gained valuable work experience, and obtained several safety tickets. Armed with new skills and a new found confidence, she met with a job coach from the Maskwacis Employment Centre. They worked together to create a resume that accurately highlights Andrea’s new skills and experience. She also attended an interview workshop to help prepare for a successful job search.
“As a young Cree individual growing up in Maskwacis, Alberta, I have overcome many challenges and hardships over the years. Learning from these experiences, I have gained acceptance, awareness and independence. I always challenged myself to do better. I am self-motivated and jumped at any opportunity that would arise. I was hired as the new EIRD custodian. I am honoured and grateful that they hired me. Today I am permanently employed and am doing well.”
Trade Winds program helps father trade careers
Before entering the Trade Winds to Success pre-apprentice training program, Kevin worked for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as a wild-fire firefighter. Kevin enjoyed the work, but it was seasonal and it required him to spend long periods of time away from home.
Today, Kevin is working toward a career as a welder because he wants the stability of a steady job, which will allow him to spend more time with his family. “I want to be home in the evening with my kids,” said the father of four.
The 16-week Trade Winds program begins with a two-week trades orientation followed by academic and hands-on-training. Kevin is hoping to find an apprenticeship position with a
fabrication shop when he completes the training.
“The Trade Winds staff are friendly and eager to help. It (the program) opens a lot of doors for you. You get to know a lot of people in the industry and it helps you to get into the union, which makes it easier to finds jobs.”
The Trade Winds to Success Training Society helps students pursue careers as carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, millwrights, plumbers, steam/pipefitters, welders and insulators. Trade Winds incorporates Indigenous culture into its program and hires trainers who understand the Indigenous community. Trade Winds began in 2006 and since then has produced over 1,200 Indigenous tradespeople. Trade Winds is supported by Alberta Advanced Education and Alberta Indigenous Relations.
Higher Landing helps out-of-work Engineer
After working as an Engineer for over 16 years, Pascale suddenly found herself unemployed due to the oil and gas sector decline.
News of the company layoffs was devastating, impacting half her work team. After applying for over 200 jobs with little to no response for an interview, Pascale was frustrated and not sure where to turn. She turned to Higher Landing and was accepted into their Shuttle Program.
Through the program, Pascale shifted her traditional job search perspective and overcame negative perspectives she had with her employment situation. She developed a resume based on “her brand” for use in all jobs and increased her comfort level in using social media to broaden her professional network through LinkedIn and Blogging. This helped her to get interviews and eventually land the job she wanted using her skills in the engineering field.
Pascale spent hours in developing her own personal brand as demonstrated through her new resume, helping to increase her value in other roles and sectors she had not considered previously. She presented her brand to the Grizzley Den panel, represented by influential Calgary business leaders ready to provide feedback and leads.
Pascale recommends the program to others struggling to connect to a job and found the staff and support provided invaluable. She states “learning how to develop new networks outside of my traditional network which was largely oil and gas was critical to my success along with understanding the difference between socializing and true networking”.
Crane training opportunity lifts mom’s career
Sandra first began studying for a career in Human Resources over 10 years ago, but had to abandon school to take care of her ailing mother and young disabled daughter. Sandra found work in Alberta’s energy industry as a heavy equipment operator, but wanted to advance her career further. It took her a few years to pay her dues and, but her hard work paid off. She impressed a Local 955 union Business Agent who entered her name in a lottery for a training position as a Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator.
Sandra was thrilled to win the lottery, but was concerned about the testing, because she considered herself to be a poor exam writer. Sandra dug deep and poured herself into the training materials—spending hours studying. It was difficult balancing work, studying, and family obligations, but Sandra persevered. Sandra’s “aha” moment came after one particularly tough exam when she realized that she was one of the few students who actually understood the intricacies of the problems. That’s when she realized, “I deserve this.”
Sandra used her newfound confidence to complete her exams and become an Apprentice Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator-Mobile Crane. Sandra is now looking forward to receiving her Journeyperson ticket in her trade this year. Sandra’s advice to any other apprentices who may be struggling is, “Stay encouraged, surround yourself with people willing to pass on their knowledge, and never stop learning.” Sandra is grateful to her Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Officer, her Local 955, and mentors she met through the union and in her workplace for sharing their knowledge, supporting her, and giving her the chance to succeed.
Dad finds work with help of Job Corps
Elijah was unemployed and looking after an infant daughter when he visited the Athabasca Alberta Supports Centre looking for assistance. The Career and Employment Consultant he met with referred him to the Calling Lake Job Corps program and he has since found permanent full-time employment.
Alberta Job Corps provides work experience to under-employed Albertans and teaches employee skills while paying a minimum wage. Positions are full-time and include a workplace environment with standard employee expectations.
Elijah attended work every day and obtained safety tickets to improve his employment opportunities. Through the work experience component of Job Corps, Elijah found a permanent position with a company who works closely with the program.
Elijah appreciates the support provided by Job Corps and is excited to be working full time.
Evan is a burgeoning entrepreneurial baker in Edmonton, having worked his way from a single storefront location into shops across the city. But being a self-employed startup is a scary and stressful journey to embark upon, and for Evan, success nearly didn't happen.
To overcome his fears and discover just what was possible, Evan enrolled in a class at the Anderson Career Training Institute, a free, government-funded business training program. The 10-week program introduced Evan to the practical nuts and bolts, with classes led by teachers with business experience and guest speakers. Following was a four month mentorship supporting Evan while he got his business up and running. But for Evan the most important aspect was the lesson he learned about how to handle the emotional part.
"Things like stress, fears, frustrations and setbacks. You just have to be willing to accept change and face challenges," he says. Evan says he's now more open to opportunities and less afraid of failure. "I look on business in a positive way. Everything is possible."
Anderson Career Training services are funded by the Government of Alberta.
Looking for a job as an Albertan with a disability
Like many other new graduates, Olgica was frustrated in finding a job because she did not have the years of experience employers in her field were asking for, even for entry-level positions. On top of that, Olgica has multiple sclerosis, which affects her mobility and forced her to quit her job as a sales associate.
"Being an intern with Community and Social Services is the best work opportunity in my life," Olgica says. "It will help me to grow professionally and make other social connections."
When she contacted staffing agencies during her job search, Olgica faced accessibility problems. She was referred to various disability-related programs and given the suggestion to pursue volunteering instead of employment.
According to Stats Canada, working-age Canadians are 27% less likely to have a job if they have a disability. On average, they have an income per year that is $10,000 less than a Canadian without a disability.
Olgica heard about the Government of Alberta internship program for people with disabilities when she reached out to Alberta Works for support. They sent her the job posting and helped her update her resume and cover letter.
When Olgica got the call for an interview, she prepared by attending interview workshops and coaching through Alberta Works. She knew she had to make the most of this opportunity.
"The assistance I received from Alberta Works played a huge part in helping me take my first step back into the Alberta workforce."
Committed to a career as an auto mechanic
Nallie decided she wanted a career as an auto mechanic, but she knew as a woman in a male-dominated field, succeeding in her goal would be a challenge – women are notoriously under-represented in the skilled trades.
Nevertheless, she was determined and registered in the Bridging Youth to Success Program to increase her chances of apprenticeship. The program is part of Alberta Job Corp and provides paid work experience and training to youth who have finished school to help them discover their career path.
Even though she knew that the program would not guarantee her an apprenticeship, she says it was worth it.
"If you are willing to work and work hard – they will do whatever they can to make it happen," Nallie says.
Nallie then sought help from a career and Employment consultant at an Alberta Supports Centre to create a professional resume and to improve her interview skills. She used her resume and new skills to secure a 2-month Work Experience Placement as a labour / automotive Helper with NAPA Autopro.
After finishing her work experience placement, Nallie was offered full-time employment with NAPA and has become a registered Apprentice. She was even able to count her Work Experience hours toward her first year of apprenticeship.
You can see additional 2018 success stories on the Alberta Career Week success stories page.