Name: Kaileigh Oliphant
Program: 605 – Vancouver
Job Title: Employment Specialist
Can you explain your job title a little bit more in-depth, meaning, what does an Employment Specialist do?
I have found this job has a lot of facets. A large part of my job is helping my clients find their ideal work position. Another part is helping them either learn their work position or supporting them to independence in that job. For some of my clients, I support them out in the community and help get them connected. I currently have six clients that I assist with these items.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend a lot of time researching different job options. My first three months contained a lot of job training with fantastic coaches who I still talk to on a weekly basis. I still have ongoing training, but a large part of my job is currently researching. This also includes reaching out to employers to set up informational interviews or job site visits. I meet with clients, sometimes in person (following protocols), and sometimes over Zoom.
What kind of challenges have you been experiencing? Have you been running into any issues?
A lot of things are still closed and that’s kind of halted a lot of things. I have one client working right now, which is great. I can see one other client in person, but the rest I see via Zoom and it’s hard not to be able to go anywhere. It has been very interesting to come up with ways to keep everyone engaged. We have found that during meetings with some clients their participation depends on their surroundings. Are staff around, are other people around? It can be challenging when others are in the house as well. This has been a big barrier that we have been working on recently. All we can do right now is our best, and I see that in my coworkers. It has been a really hard year and seeing everyone’s resilience is simply amazing.
How do you make sure that you are showing a deep profound respect towards the individuals that you do work with?
If I am in person, I do a lot of open body language, and active listening. I don’t just listen to answer, but actually listen to what they are saying and take a moment and think about body language. I realize from the shoulders up is a little more difficult – meaning Zoom meetings are challenging with body language. I try to be open with my clients, make eye contact, or as best you can through a camera. I keep them engaged by seeing how they are doing and asking how they are handling everything right now.
If I could talk to any one of your clients, what are the ways that they would say you show respect towards them and show the SA Values?
I hope that I show respect to everyone I interact with. I have been in this position for three months now, and I am still learning who my clients are. We are still getting used to each other and learning how to work with one another. My hope would be to help them in support of their goals and work on making sure we are on the right track and are meeting the goals that they want to meet.