'I am NOT going to a ski resort!': My year in Canada

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Simon, 32, from Aberystwyth, went to Canada with his girlfriend on BUNAC's Work Canada programme - on the condition that he wasn't to work in a ski resort. He returns to the UK with some great memories, a bundle of stories and a new nickname (Scooter Simon) - oh, and having worked for a season in Whistler!

My year here in Vancouver and Canada is fast coming to an end but thought you would like to hear my story.

QUOTE:
Barbara (my girlfriend) - 'I will only go to Canada if you agree that we don't go to a ski resort'
Me - 'Deal'

Arriving in Sept 2010, the plan was to live and work in Vancouver for the whole 12 months, but not everything goes to plan.

After settling in a lovely apartment in the West End all I needed was a job, but after nearly 2 months of searching and applying for anything and everything and hearing nothing I was starting to think 'why won’t anybody employee me?' It wasn't as if I was under-qualified.

My girlfriend got an interview for the Vancouver Olympic Organising Committee (VANOC) and, having nothing to lose, I put my Sunday best on and went along with her. Getting past security to the waiting area, I introduced myself to her interviewer - who liked the approach so much that he gave me a job. Incidentally, Barbara also got a job! Both of us employed for the Workforce Accommodation Department starting in the VANOC HQ and within weeks relocating to...........Whistler. As you can imagine Barbara was overjoyed (see the quote above) and I started to wax my snowboard.

So 4 months later, after an amazing experience working and contributing to a successful major sporting event, we moved back to our apartment in Vancouver.

Back to searching for jobs with 6 months left of our working holiday visa wasn't going to be easy I thought, but summer fast approaching I felt more opportunities around the corner so I started looking for temporary positions, summer/ seasonal work and wrote a strong cover letter that could be adapted easily for different positions.

One afternoon I sat for 5 hours firing off emails to every tourism related company including the President and CEO of Vancouver Tourism, Mr. Rick Antonson who sent a personal reply wishing he had a position for me.

I got a call from Kristen 'Vancouver Trolley Company' asking me to attend an interview for a 'Ticket agent' position.

I Attended the interview and received a call the very next day offering me the job, which I accepted. Within a month of selling Trolley Tours and Attraction Tickets at various positions around the city they promoted me to a Mobile Ticket Agent AKA 'Scooter Simon'.

My job description, in layman's terms, is riding a scooter around the city and talking to people all day.

However my official job role and duties include, promoting the Vancouver Trolley Company as the number one Hop-On, Hop-Off sightseeing tour in Vancouver (which it is), selling the Trolley Tours and city attractions, answering customer questions and queries about the tours, attractions, the city, basically providing them with accurate up to date information about absolutely anything, being their main point of call.

Other duties include assisting drivers with passenger issues, arranging crowd control, tending to angry customers, issuing refunds, fixing driver point of sale machines, providing drivers with spare headsets, delivering leaflets and coupons to all hotels and outlets, communicating with the operations team at base........and more.

The job is very enjoyable, lots of fun, and the people I meet are predominately tourists with occasional locals, but all very friendly.

My work colleagues are all different ages and come from different backgrounds, some have been doing this job for over 11 years. Currently there are 4 partner participants working for the VTC including myself.

The company is great, very accommodating and flexible about working hours and shifts, and quick at solving issues such as incorrect pay or employee conflicts. The management will listen and act on your comments or suggestions, which is great for your working relationship, your confidence and your trust for the company.

To summarise, I'm loving my job which not many people can say and will be sad to be leaving next month!

Find out more about Work Canada

Want to tell the world about your BUNAC adventure? Send your stories, photos and videos to experiences@bunac.org.uk

 

Simon