Attending a hiring fair last year was one of the steps that helped Mila Coutinho secure a full-time job with Canada Post.
Leading up to the Get Surrey Working Hiring Fair, scheduled for Thursday (Sept. 27), Coutinho told the Now-Leader of the benefits of attending a hiring fair and working with WorkBC and case managers to help find work.
Coutinho said she moved to Surrey from Brazil for a safer lifestyle, but that meant leaving behind her 17-year career as a clinical psychologist behind.
“It would be a nightmare to do everything again to get a PhD here, so I gave up everything and said, ‘Well, I want to start a new career,” Coutinho said.
After a stint of trying her own business, Coutinho said she went to Avia Employment Services, which administers WorkBC employment programs, to get a case manager to help her find a job.
Paula Deering, Coutinho’s case manager, said she worked with Coutinho to find out what she was looking for in a job. Deering said Coutinho wanted security “more than anything.”
“That was kind of one of her strong values. ‘I want to have a job where I’m going to have good benefits, solid work, reasonable pay, opportunities for growth,’” Deering said.
Through Avia, Canada Post held an info session which Coutinho attended. Coutinho said, the info session was just about teaching people how to apply online and the job openings were only for Christmastime casual, but Coutinho applied.
Two weeks later, Coutinho said she attended the hiring fair and Canada Post was one of the employers at the event. She said she approached Canada Post and told them she’d already applied, adding the employees took her name and a couple weeks she was contacted and began working as a Christmas casual employee from October 2017 to January 2018.
“The hiring event, when I went there, I have a chance to say, ‘Hey, Canada Post, I already applied online. What’s the next step?’”
Coutinho said she was hired again in April 2018 as a casual employee before finally being hired as a full-time employee in July.
Coutinho said sometimes people have to be a little patient in order to get what they want.
“Everybody wants a full-time job and stability and everything. I believe most people just discard this opportunity because it is seasonal, but at that time I was so focused on finding something that I said, ‘I don’t care. I’m going to take it. It’s a huge corporation. I know that the benefits are there.’”
Deering said going to hiring fairs gets people out from behind computer screens and meeting people face-to-face.
“Looking for a job is a full-time job and it can be very, very depressive and anxiety provoking. I find a lot of clients begin to feel low self esteem and they become sort of prisoners behind their computer hoping someone is going to read their emails.”
The Get Surrey Working Hiring Fair is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Newton Recreation Centre (13730 72 Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. From 10-11 a.m., the fair will be for WorkBC clients and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the fair will be open to the general public.
The hiring fair includes 30 employers that are “committed to inclusive hiring practices in recognition of the province’s Disability Employment month,” according to www.surreyworkbc.ca. The event is also fully accessible and includes American Sign Language interpreters.
It is presented by SurreyWorkBC and the City of Surrey.
Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-registration is required. People can register online at getsurreyworking2018.eventbrite.ca.