Workshop facilitator Janet Southgate conducts a session from her office. Career development workshops are now being offered virtually through WorkBC Centre Westshore. (Photo courtesy of WorkBC)

Virtual training helps participants get a leg up in job search

WorkBC Centre Westshore offers online workshops

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing sweeping layoffs and job uncertainty for many B.C. residents, some are considering other career options or looking at ways to upgrade their skills.

Former teacher Janet Southgate spent more than 25 years at the helm of a traditional classroom. Now, she’s in front of a laptop providing individualized instruction as a workshop facilitator at WorkBC’s West Shore location.

WorkBC Employment Services Centres help individuals find their next job by providing access to job search resources, help with employment planning, skills assessment, training, work experience placement and more.

“When thinking about how we could best help our clients during this time of social distancing, offering virtual services just made sense for us all. We wanted to make the workshops available as soon as possible during the lockdown,” Southgate said in a statement. “Everyone here cares deeply about our clients and all of us are concerned that our clients’ needs are being met.”

Participants can attend workshops on a number of topics including resume development, virtual interview skills, accomplishment statements, and cover letters via Webex, a web-based platform. A combination of PowerPoint presentation and facilitation by Southgate, workshops are currently offered once a week and run for about two hours in length.

ALSO READ: WorkLink helps residents find the right future

While still being able to meet clients virtually is gratifying, Southgate noted the online world does present some challenges. “It is difficult, trying to encapsulate the current workshop content into a virtual format that is interactive, meaningful and useful to our clients,” she said. “As for the technology and graphics, I am grateful for the support of our marketing and IT teams. This is truly a group effort.”

Remote training and working have revolutionized many workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, noted executive director Peter Doukakis. “It’s important that we continue to offer our services virtually to our clients so that their career development can continue during this pandemic.”

Feedback from residents using the services has been positive. One noted he found it to be a helpful first step after feeling down because of a layoff.

To learn more about the workshops or to register as a WorkBC client (workshop participants must register with WorkBC), go to or, for Sooke residents, go to

To learn more about the services offered on the West Shore, call 250-478-9525 or go to the website above.

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