'There are jobs here'

Matthew Molloy
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Employment Labour market planner organizing new job database

There are more jobs in the Coast of Bays region than most people may think, according to the labour market planner for the Coast of Bays Corp.

"We have people in the region who think there are no jobs here. How do we get them more involved and let them know there are jobs here?" asked Beverly Ann Myers.

Harbour Breton - There are more jobs in the Coast of Bays region than most people may think, according to the labour market planner for the Coast of Bays Corp.

"We have people in the region who think there are no jobs here. How do we get them more involved and let them know there are jobs here?" asked Beverly Ann Myers.

In fact, at least one student has informed Myers that she was told to leave the province because there was nothing for her in the Bay d'Espoir area.

"A student at Bay d'Espoir Academy told me she was told that there are no jobs in the Bay d'Espoir region for her - go away - they're being told to leave," said Myers. "It was the same for me. I'm from the Northern Peninsula, and I was always told to go away. I was never told to get an education, I was told to go away - there's more for you if you go away. However, if you have an education in Newfoundland and Labrador right now, you can almost pick and choose a job - any job you want you can have. In health care alone, statistics from April 1 show that Western Health was looking for 31 different positions, Central Health was 22 and Eastern Health was looking for 41."

Myers said there were five job ads coming out of Harbour Breton recently that paid more than $50,000 a year.

Setting up job database

To help local residents hear about those jobs, and bring more people back to the Coast of Bays area, Myers is setting up a job database and believes it will greatly benefit all who sign on to the idea.

"We originally tried to reach the businesses to see what their development was going to be like in the next five to 10 years. The businesses aren't taking advantage of what we are trying to do. So, we have taken on a new approach for Plan B," Myers said. "We're starting a database and hoping that the individuals of the 22 communities in the Coast of Bays are going to be involved with that database."

She said information will be sent to individuals about jobs, what's going on in the area and even if an organization such as employment centres are holding information days.

If an e-mail comes in regarding jobs in health care, for example, an e-mail will go out to everyone involved with the database. Everybody receives the same e-mail whether they're a clerk or working labour jobs.

"There are jobs here in the region and there are jobs in the province," Myers said. "We don't just want to stop with individuals within the 22 Coast of Bays communities. We want to look at the individuals that have left the region and gone to other provinces. That's something the Northern Peninsula has done as well. Of the 1,370 people in that database, and if I'm not mistaken, only 268 people are in the province, so about 1,100 are out of the province."

Myers said a number of top jobs have come up in the Coast of Bays region within the past few weeks. She said Newfoundland Hydro had an opening for a clerk and security person, Central Health was looking for a manager and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was also looking for a clerk.

"These youth are being told in high schools that if you get a (course) in office administration there are no jobs here for you. There are jobs here and this is why we want to get this database going, so I'm not just keeping the information in a binder. I want this information going out to every one of them and the rest of the individuals," she said.

"We don't want to leave anybody out. If you have an e-mail address, all of the information that I receive will be sent to every individual."

Cost of living comparisions

Myers has been around to a few schools already giving presentations and said she has received a tremendous response.

One of the things she shows the students, who believe that life is better abroad, is the price of a four-litre bottle of apple juice in Fort McMurray, at more than $20.

"The feedback I've gotten from the students has been phenomenal. I've given them a breakdown of what it costs to live in Fort McMurray and what the cost is to live in the Coast of Bays region - and that's living the high life," Myers said. "They finally see that the cost of living up there is ridiculous, and as I completed my presentation to the youth in Conne River, I had three students say to me, 'Can I have my sheet back? I want to take it back because I'm not moving to Alberta anymore because now I see the benefits of living here.'"

According to Myers, the RCMP alone will be looking for 10,000 to 20,000 people in the next two years and the Canadian Armed Forces will be looking for approximately the same.

"With the RCMP, and this is something the kids don't see, it's free of cost and there's 150 career choices. It's not just that one career choice that we see," Myers said.

The database is for everybody in the Coast of Bays, whether a student who wants to know what's in the Coast of Bays or a 50-year-old who wants to return to the workplace.

Myers said people who want to go back to school are hearing there isn't anything in their region or the province.

"Aquaculture is booming and they're saying that between 500 and 700 people are employed directly in that industry right now," she said. "In seven years, they're saying they will need 2,000 people to fill the gap in the industry. As a labour market planner, how are we going to find a way to fill that gap if I don't have the communities behind me or the people behind me?"

Myers is also a part of the e-mail database of an industry sector council, and with construction alone, she received an e-mail three weeks ago informing her that sector is looking for 250,000 people across Canada and 162,000 of them are a result of retirements.

"That's what we're seeing, even with provincial government," Myers said.

"They're saying that with every three people that leave the provincial government right now, there's one person to take that position."

Myers will attend a number of festivals in the region to inform residents of what she's trying to do. She'll be at:

the Conne River Powwow, Friday to Sunday;

Bay d'Espoir Cancer Benefit Concert, July 20;

Iron Skull Festival, July 18 to 20;

Harbour Breton Come Home Year, July 25 to Aug. 2;

Red Head Rocks, Aug. 2;

South Coast Arts Festival, Aug. 8 to 10;

the Rum Runners Festival, Aug. 15 to 17.

"If there are any other activities being planned that we can get involved in, whether it's weekends or evenings, we want to be there," Myers said. "We want this information to get out there and the database to be started because my contract right now ends in January 2009."

For more information, or to invite Myers to an event, she can be contacted by e-mail, lmdp@eastlink.ca; or by phone (toll free) 1-800-205-0799 or 709-538-3552.

Organizations: Bays, RCMP, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canadian Armed Forces South Coast

Geographic location: Bays, Newfoundland and Labrador, Harbour Breton Fort McMurray Conne River Alberta Canada Red Head

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