Staff at Virden Employment Skills Centre (VESC) on Wellington St. W. are matchmakers, helping job hunters and employers find each other.
Within the office, other services include E.I.A. (Employment & Income Assistance), where case workers utilize office space to meet with their clients.
New office manager, Gail Barré stated, “It’s amazing how many people don’t know the services we offer.” She added, “We’ve been here 25 years.”
Recently retired, Margaret (Peggy) Foy served as office manager in Virden office for 11 years.
Employment advisor with VESC since 2016, Barré was hired for the position. She’s taking on the work with the same enthusiasm she brought to clients seeking her help. And, she brings a depth of knowledge to her role as office manager.
New to VESC since Sept. 30, is Employment Advisor/Client Service Rep, Kendell Holmes.
Homes is a young woman recently graduated with a BA Psychology. She says, “I had looked at employment advisor and career counselling in Winnipeg.
“I saw this (VESC job) pop up. Mom had been asking me if I wanted to move back home and be a little closer. So, it just worked out.”
Holmes has worked as a personal care assistant. She enjoys helping people and now, she has hit a sweet spot as an employment counsellor.
“I can use my degree, a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology.”
Matching people up with the right jobs is far from all VESC offers.
They help their clients prepare for employment and keep their jobs through education which includes referrals to outside organizations such as Virden A.P.P.L.E. (Association of Parents and Professionals for Literacy Education Inc.) where adult literacy is their specialty.
Their services are free to their clients because VESC is funded by the province and the federal government to serve the RMs of Sifton, Pipestone, Wallace-Woodworth, and the Town of Virden.
Some of what VESC provides:
- Employment Plan Development
- Career Exploration
- Labour Market/Training
- Resume/Cover letter
- Job Search Assistance
- Job Matching
- Referral to Outside Agencies
- Self-Employment Info/Referrals
- Wage Subsidy Info/Referrals
- In-Depth Counselling/Referrals
Barré expects to hold up to five workshops throughout the fiscal year, which began in June.
Before her retirement, Foy and Barré paired up to present a job readiness workshop.
“It was the first year we had done that, this last spring. It went over well,” says Barré
The workshop ran two full days per week for three weeks and she plans to hold another one.
“We’re going to partner with Employment Income Assistance (EIA) to try and help job expectant clients prepare for work.”
Barré says the workshops can be important to get people started back to work. Sometimes that’s a single parent who has been on social assistance.
“You can imagine how scary it is … when you’re raising children, you’ve been out of work for six, 10 years….” She explains that VESC can help with the details that can need to go right. “From how to dress, to building self-esteem… resume assistance, cover letter assistance.”