A portion of the Valid Manufacturing plant in Salmon Arm’s Industrial Park. (Photo contributed)

Looking for a job? Now’s a good time in Salmon Arm

Trends show workers needed in trades, service industry, high-tech manufacturing and more

It’s a good time to be looking for a job in Salmon Arm, according to those people who deal with job trends.

The ‘however’ is, it helps if you have accommodation, transportation and, in some cases, training.

At Work BC, centre manager Jennifer Beckett says that although she doesn’t have official statistics, a lot of employers have been looking for workers.

Many openings are for entry level positions and, in the summer, seasonal work, often in the service industry. But that’s generally not enough money to live on.

However, entry level positions are definitely not the only jobs available.

“We are actually seeing an increase in really good jobs, good wages, with employers willing to train. More so than in recent years,” Beckett says.

People in demand are skilled trades workers, such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians, she explains, pointing out that trades are a good sector to get into right now.

In the trades, a lot of older people are retiring, making way for a new crop of workers.

Read more: Trades programs helping to fill gaps in the job market

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Other employees in demand are in the health-care field and early childhood education. Workers in agriculture are also needed, but often on a seasonal basis.

She notes that when Waterways Houseboats closed, the seasonal market appeared to have been able to absorb those 50 jobs.

One area of casual jobs the Salmon Arm centre is seeing comes from older, retired people who need help with work, even as far as the South Shuswap.

Beckett says feedback in some instances from people getting jobs is that the wages don’t match the cost of living. People are feeling the cost of fuel and groceries. Other obstacles the centre hears about is the need for more public transportation and the scarcity of affordable rental housing and daycare.

She said the centre seems to see more older people than it once did, some going through a transition in their field of work.

“We see all age groups getting hired.”

At Okanagan College in Salmon Arm, Brent Moffat, trades and projects administrator, has seen the same trend with trades.

“Trades are huge,” he says, pointing to the combination of more housing being built in Salmon Arm along with baby boomers who worked in the trades retiring.

“We just haven’t been training a lot of apprentices and now we are because we need them.”

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He said he gets a lot of calls from the industrial park, not always for someone with a trade but for someone with experience in a field like autobody work, for instance. Someone who has attention to detail.

The other area is in high-tech manufacturing. He says employers like USNR, Valid Manufacturing, Technology Brewing, Access Precision Machining, require trained personnel.

Moffat refers to the term ‘mechatronics.’

“They’re essentially millwrights in a high-tech manufacturing world. They fix lasers, scanners, optimizers and computers.”

He said it wasn’t until the city did its branding project that people realized there are 700 people working in high-tech manufacturing in Salmon Arm.

The other thing that’s really important about employment, he says, is when people think ‘education’ they think four years. In reality, they could do a six-month office administration course and be working for $18 to $20 per hour.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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