A job fair at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Friday showed that there are at least 13 employers seeking workers in the Prince Albert area –- most willing to train.
“It’s always been a struggle in Prince Albert. It doesn’t matter where you’re working,” Value Village employee Darlene Thompson said of the difficulty filling job vacancies.
“So, you want to grab the ones that you can and train them, which is why we’re about training our staff, because we want to see the ones who are willing to put the time in to educate themselves and to grow.”
Value Village has the best training program Thompson said that she’s ever seen, with plenty of room for moving up to management positions.
The Canadian Armed Forces has a similar mentality when it comes to training employees, Master Corporal Dean Tuba said.
Qualifiers are fairly simple, with most people 16 years of age and older, with a completed Grade 10 and Canadian Citizenship, accepted.
“We find places to train you wherever we can,” Tuba said.
Prince Albert’s army reserves unit meets once per week at the local armories, plus the odd weekend and the opportunity to go full-time during the summer.
“Everybody’s different,” Tuba said.
“There are some people that get in just to fire the weapons, there are other people that get in because they have a need to serve communities. Some people get in just because it helps pay for university.”
The RCMP is equally keen on accepting recruits, and were also represented at Friday’s job fair.
“It’s slow,” Cst. Lee Bitternose said of the search for officers.
“Not just here, but all over. There are so many jobs out here, the Saskatchewan economy is going so well, that not everyone wants to be a police officer anymore.
“We’re looking for anybody … (who has) good values, want to serve their community and make a difference.”
While employers willing to train from the ground up find it difficult finding employees, those who require skilled employees are finding it even harder.
It’s always been a struggle in Prince Albert. It doesn’t matter where you’re working ... So, you want to grab the ones that you can and train them, which is why we’re about training our staff, because we want to see the ones who are willing to put the time in to educate themselves and to grow. - Darlene Thompson, Value Village recruiter
Emma Lake-based Sunset Bay Resort owner Lawrence Minshull has found it most difficult finding employees during the off-season. This challenge is compounded by the resort’s rural location, about a half-hour north of Prince Albert.
“What we’re trying to change is the mindset of where you work and the benefits of where you work,” he said, noting the proximity of nature, snowmobile trails and a calm, relaxing atmosphere.
Skilled employees are difficult to find in the hospitality industry, he said, in that it’s all the little things that matter.
“How many times have you been at a table, and there are ladies with you, and the waiter or waitress comes up and says, ‘well, guys, how is everything going?’” he asked. “It’s ma’am, or sir … It’s details … I want to be served properly.”
The hope now is to find someone willing to stick around for a long time, he said, something Northviews Construction administrator Ken Pasayan has also found difficulty with.
“We do find workers who are a viable, in terms of their age bracket and skill, however the concern that we have is retention,” Pasayan said.
“They come here, work for us for a week or to or a month, and then suddenly they go to some other places, and they’re not there anymore.”
Training someone to have them leave immediately isn’t effective, he said, with attitude the other biggest quality of an employee.
“It’s attitude that really counts and the willingness to learn, and improve, and move up the career ladder,” he said.
Saskjobs.ca currently has 330 job vacancies listed on its website for Prince Albert as of Friday evening.