Finding new opportunities for workers after workplace injuries that prevent them from returning to their previous jobs.
Recently I read about WorkSafeBC’s Hire a Worker program in the Spring 2023 issue of WorkSafe Magazine. This free service matches B.C. employers with experienced workers who have recovered from a workplace injury and are ready to return to the workforce.
Ideally, injured workers will return to their old jobs, but sometimes this isn’t possible due to their injuries.
To find out more, I spoke with Kymm Ducharme. Kymm manages the province-wide network of job developers and employment specialists on WorkSafeBC’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services team.
“We find new jobs for people every single day,” Kymm says. “I think the absolute best thing we can do for a worker – if we can’t get them back to their old employer – is to get them a new job as quickly as possible. In addition to having meaningful work, it’s also important for them to be connected with their community again.”
Kymm describes how job developers seek out new opportunities. For example, her team in Victoria is looking at jobs in new and growing industries such as renewable energy.
“Our department has the opportunity to go out and do a lot of networking and meet with different industries in the community,” Kymm says. “We look at what’s up and coming and can find some really interesting jobs. Then we find out what these new roles entail, and what kind of training is required.”
Saving time and recruitment costs for employers
In addition to helping workers, the Hire a Worker program also helps employers with the challenges of recruiting.
WorkSafeBC identifies and vets potential candidates, a step that can be a burden for many employers. It also offers financial assistance to offset expenses associated with training and orienting workers hired through the program. This may include a fully funded work assessment period for employers and workers to see if the job is a good fit. (For more information, see this guide to the Hire a Worker Program.)
Some employers have used the Hire a Worker service multiple times, Kymm says.
“We even have workers we’ve placed in the past who have since risen up through the ranks and now they’re in a position to hire, so they’ve come back and hired through us,” she says. “Once people are aware of the program, the word spreads. So I’m a pretty firm believer in it.”
As of February 2023, employers can submit job opportunities through an online form. Job development and employment specialists will review each submission and follow up with employers.
“Now it’s really easy for employers to post jobs,” Kymm says. “There’s been a huge uptake with employers and we’re really excited about that. We have new jobs coming in every day.”
Thanks to Kymm for telling me about this valuable program that helps so many workers and employers.