It’s About Finding the Right Spirit, Energy and Attitude

By 9 am on a week day, Wayne Marsden will have reviewed his emails, interviewed a few candidates for current openings, and met with site supervisors regarding their manpower needs.  The high-energy Workforce Manager of PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. is busy meeting potential hires for the company, and also making sure its current employees succeed.

And while skills are very important, what he is really looking for are spirit, energy and attitude – in a first-year carpentry apprentice, a foreign engineer, who is new to Canada, or someone who is taking the next step in his or her career within the industry.

Wayne believes that when starting at PCL, all employees need help learning about the 100-year old company’s processes and procedures, and that with adequate supports they can all be successful.

Immigrants are one of the talent pools PCL has tapped into, and, most recently, Wayne has found new hires through IEC-BC’s BC JobConnect portal. For him, the portal is a resource that is easy to work with, and it is better than a job board, where you have to sift through hundreds and hundreds of resumes.

Lack of Canadian experience or limited English skills have not been a deterrent.

“When someone starts here even with minimal English, it improves within a matter of weeks on the job,” he says.

Wayne understands the hesitations of employers, especially those with limited or no HR resources, to hire people who are new to Canada.  However, he firmly believes that there is a time investment in onboarding any new employee – Canadian born or not. If you approach it the right way, you are going to get an employee who is going to be involved with your organization for a long time.

Wayne notes that for years “lack of experience” used to be a problem for first-year apprentices as well.

“Now it’s changing,” he says. “There are no apprentices left, they all got jobs because employers realized that the spirit, energy and attitude are a huge benefit.”

The immigrants in trades that Wayne has worked with have been dedicated to their families, their work, and their new country. They have also provided new perspectives, and had exciting stories to share.

“It makes my mind travel to where they lived and what they have experienced,“ says Wayne, who got the “travel bug” as a young boy while his father worked for an airline and traveled across the world with his family.

“People are amazing wherever you go, and when they come to this country, they bring their culture, new ways of thinking and lots of other things we could tie into – both personally and on behalf of the company,” he says.” And this is what has made Canada the success that it is.”