NIEFS brings home two provincial awards

The North Island Career Employment Foundations Society (NIEFS) recently took home two major provincial awards in its field from the annual BC Career Development Association (BCCDA) conference in Vancouver, and they couldn’t be happier about the recognition.

NIEFS Executive Director Val Meany says it’s really encouraging for the BCCDA – who oversees all career development organizations in the province, as well as being the certifying body for the certified career development practitioners around B.C. – to recognize the work being done in the career development field here in little old Campbell River.

“I’s nice to be recognized by our peers in this way, because our industry is made up of non-profits, private sector-companies, big companies, small companies, all sizes of organizations, and to be from a small, rural community and recognized with a provincial award, I think, is significant. I think it speaks to how innovative we are, how professional we are, and how seriously we take our role here.”

NIEFS as an organization brought home the prestigious Career Development Organization of the Year Award, and Chris Callanan, who is just about to complete his first year with the company, was recognized as top Emerging Career Development Practitioner.

Callanan came to NIEFS from a retail management and human resources background, and says his new role as a case manager with NIEFS lets him keep doing his favourite parts from retail and HR – in a new capacity.

“I’d always found that my favourite part of my work in human resources was helping, guiding and developing people – that’s the kind of work I thrive on,” he says. “I was doing that within retail stores, but when those retail opportunities weren’t available, it made sense to me to come on with NIEFS when that opportunity became available. I get to keep doing the work that I love. I get to guide and develop people on a daily basis, and, as a result, I get to help them reach their goals.”

Another thing he loves about his new role is the challenge and fun of learning about new careers that are out there and details about new industries he may not be as familiar with. Not everyone who comes through the door is looking for a job in retail, after all, which is the world he’s obviously most familiar with.

“That’s the fun part,” he says.

“I get to quickly become familiarized with what people are looking for. If someone is looking for work in a particular trade and I don’t have a working knowledge of it, I get excited, because I now get to research that trade.”

And the same thing happens every time a job is posted. If he doesn’t know what that job is, it’s more difficult to find someone suited for it, after all.

“A job posting came in where somebody needed a hook tender,” he says. “Well, I sure didn’t know what a hook tender was, but it was fun to find out, and now I know what they do and what skills are needed for the job [the] next time a position opens up for one.”

But the trophies are back in town, and it’s time to get back to work – helping people realize their career goals.

“We were vey excited,” says Shannon Baikie, NIEFS regional manager.

“We actually had a pretty large group come to the conference this year, so I hauled them all up on stage with me to accept it. It was really pretty fun to get up in front of all our colleagues and be recognized. It was very cool, but now it’s time to dig back in.”