Many in Burns Lake still unemployed and looking for work

According to a survey during the Jobs fair, 46 people were able to get an interview and 11 people were hired on the spot for new jobs.

Locals line up to submit their resumes at the  Huckleberry Mine booth at the Feb. 10

Locals line up to submit their resumes at the Huckleberry Mine booth at the Feb. 10

According to a survey conducted by the Village of Burns Lake during the Feb. 10 jobs fair, 46 people were able to get an interview and 11 people were hired on the spot for new jobs.

Village chief administrative officer Sheryl Worthing said to Lakes District News that everyone who walked through the doors to attend the Feb. 10, 2012 jobs fair was handed a survey.

Of 400 estimated attendees, 117 surveys were completed and retuned.

More than 77 per cent of retuned surveys were completed by males with 42 per cent indicating they were married and 29.9 per cent were single.

Sixty per cent indicated that they are the primary wage earner in their household.

More than 45 per cent of the survey respondents indicated that they had no children. The age demographics of survey respondents raged from 60 years and older to 17 years and younger, with the majority of respondents aged between 50 to 59 years old.

The majority indicated that they had either safety training, industry tickets or a high school diploma, while five per cent indicated that they had no training or a college diploma.

A total of 55.4 per cent  indicated that they were unemployed as a direct result of the Jan. 20, 2012 Babine Forest Products explosion and fire, 25.9 per cent indicated that they were unemployed but that their unemployment did not relate to the Babine Forest Products tragedy while 18 per cent indicated that they were currently employed and looking at a change of career.

More than 33 per cent of respondents indicated that the job offer they received, or a job that they were interested in was over 300 kilometres away from Burns Lake. Just 11 people indicated that their new job, or a job they were interested in was in the local area, within 50 kilometres from Burns Lake.

The majority of survey respondents indicated that they would have transportation challenges when obtaining a new job, with most indicating that it was either because of not owning a mode of transportation, or because of distances that need to be travelled.

Lakes District News also contacted businesses that were in attendance at the jobs fair to ask how many  local people they had interviewed or employed.

Christine Kennedy, from Canfor media relations said, “As a result of the jobs fair in Burns Lake we received 50 resumes. Presently, four  people have been offered jobs, and we expect another 10 offers to be made very soon. Obviously it takes some time to process all the resumes.”

Colleen Nyce from Rio Tinto Alcan said there were 43 resumes collected. “These resumes have now been entered into our recruitment system for the contractors who will do the hiring to review and make selections and job offers as appropriate.”

Enbridge recruiter Fern McKee said she is still in the midst of processing the applications and will be acknowledging submissions with a letter as soon as possible.

She said that while Enbridge has not hired anyone from Burns Lake yet, they did receive 30 resumes at the jobs fair.

“A lot of people were not willing to relocate, but we will stay in touch with them in the future if any suitable positions come up,” she said.

Jocelyn Fraser, director of public affairs for Thompson Creek Metals said the team at Endako Mine have hired 17 Babine Forest Products’ employees.

“Nine  Babine Forest Products’ employees were completing their medical last week  with 10 more going for their medical this week, if they all pass they will also be hired bringing the total to 36 people hired.”

She said the hiring process takes a minimum of 10 days

“At about the time of the incident we were in need of additional labour to assist with the start up of the new mill and other work. We began hiring Babine Forest Products employees almost immediately after the incident, well in advance of the job fair. We believe about half of the 36 we intend to hire were the direct result of the job fair. It should be noted that most of these positions are temporary, however some of these temporary employees will likely become permanent, depending upon turnover rates.”

Sheraton Holdings Ltd. manager Henry Wiebe said he received 26 resumes at the jobs fair, and of those, six will be hired, five are former Babine Forest Products employees.

Lakes District News contacted a number of other employers but have not as yet had a response. A follow up on the issue will in a later edition.