Wineries were just two of the Niagara-on-the-Lake businesses hoping to attract future employees at the Niagara College job fair last week.
Most of the industry representatives at the job fair hope to hire many more employees than they expected to see at the job fair, some ready to hire on the spot.
Jamie Slingerland, director of viticulture at Pillitteri Estates Winery, welcomed Matthew Portelli, a recent graduate of a theatre arts technician program at Fanshawe College. His eventual goal is to work at the Shaw Festival, but for now, he would be happy to work at a job in hospitality, he says.
A Niagara-on-the-Lake resident, he volunteered at the job throughout high school, and has worked at other jobs in the hospitality industry.
“Theatre’s in my blood, and has been for many years,” he says.
“But for now, I’m looking for anything that could be full-time hours. I’m open to trying new things.”
His resume looks promising, says Slingerland, who was hoping to hire some seasonal workers for the retail winery shop, and also for production, one for now, and more for the fall.
“Our main interest here is seeing people, getting their resumes, and doing follow-ups for those we are interested in.”
Arterra Wines was also at the job fair, looking for about 60 to 70 employees, mostly seasonal, for Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery and Inniskillin Winery. Arterra was there for two days, and had about 15 interviews set up for Friday.
Although most of the employees they hire will be students, some are in their final year and will stay, and others will remain on through the year, with part-time hours, says Derek Ingham, retail coordinator at Inniskillin — and a sales and marketing graduate from Niagara College.
The wineries will also take on summer interns for paid positions, allowing their hours to count for the co-op component of their programs, he added.
The college job fair works well for the wineries, since so many of the programs dovetail with the employees they hope to recruit — not only the winery and viticulture program, but hospitality, sales and marketing and culinary students will all gain valuable experience, says Ingham.
The Niagara Parks Commission also had representative at the job fair, looking for about 500 seasonal, part-time employees for their many attractions.
They’ve been at the college event for several years, and found it to be successful. Even if they get 50 resumes a day, it helps make a dent in the number they hope to hire, they said.
The college’s annual one-stop shop for job seekers was its largest ever, hoping to attract current students, alumni and others to explore opportunities, hand out resumes, network, and meet with potential employers from a variety of industries.
The career fair began last Tuesday at the Welland Campus, and continued at the NOTL campus Wednesday to Friday.
A record number of employers were registered to recruit full-time, part-time, co-op and seasonal positions for more than 150 employers from the Niagara region, with 40 and 55 exhibitors each day.
Exhibitors at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus represented hospitality and tourism, horticulture and cannabis production, culinary and beverage, business, sales and marketing.