Workshop facilitator John Singleton is an expert in personal development, leadership, and training. Contributed photo

Trio of free HR workshops coming to Quesnel

Well-known facilitator to give local businesses strategies on hiring and retaining staff

Back by popular demand, change management specialist John Singleton will be in Quesnel Sept. 17-18 to deliver a trio of workshops on attracting and retaining employees.

The free workshops are part of the Wildfire Business Transition Project, which was set up to help businesses and communities reboot following the 2017 fires.

The workshops are being sponsored by Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, thanks to funding from Western Economic Diversification.

John Singleton is an expert in personal development, leadership, and training who has been involved with all aspects of exploring and using people development and leadership training for more than 40 years.

“We’ve had really good reviews on John Singleton in the past. People really enjoy his presentations and get a lot out of it. For any business that’s looking for a leg up around hiring and recruiting employees, this is a great opportunity to attend a workshop that’s free,” said Greg Lawrence, the general manager of Community Futures North Cariboo.

Singleton’s focus and experience has been as a strategic planning facilitator, business trainer, and an executive coach.

The workshops will cover how to attract and retain great employees, motivational interviewing and bridging the generational gap. The same ones are also being offered in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

Lawrence said the workshops are part of the ongoing Wildfire Business Transition Project, which also co-ordinates self-directed training if a business has specific training needs.

“We have been doing two pieces, the regional training workshops – so we are doing these same workshops throughout the region – and we are also co-ordinating the self-directed training, so businesses and not-for-profits that were impacted by the wildfires can get funding to attend training of their choice,” he explained.

“We take the topics we identify where there’s common need and run workshops on those ourselves. Then topics where businesses have very specific needs … we provide funding for them to go do that on site.”

Employee retention is a topic that Lawrence said is very relevant to businesses who’ve experienced the compounding effect of two seasons of wildfires.

“HR is something that’s been identified – particularly recruitment and retention – across the region as a significant issue, both as a result of the wildfires, and especially in communities like Williams Lake, where they were evacuated and a lot of employees left and just didn’t come back,” said Lawrence, adding that although Quesnel was not evacuated due to the 2017 fires, businesses and not-for-profit organizations have been impacted by demographics.

“There are a lot of businesses in the community that aren’t able to attract the employees that they’re looking for,” he said.

“It’s something that’s really an issue for businesses and not-for-profits that are looking for skilled tradespeople or professional workers in the healthcare field and things like that.”

Lawrence said Wednesday that they had nine people signed up for each of the three workshops, and there is no limit to the number of people they can accommodate.

“We will move the things [to a larger venue] if we have to,” he said.

Lawrence said overall, Community Futures is using the wildfire response as a way to bring training and support for businesses into the region.

“[We want to] move away from triage from the harms of wildfires and look forward to how people can expand businesses, and grow the economy of the region, and look at positive opportunities to do that,” he commented.

Community Futures will be able to offer training and support until at least the end of November, said Lawrence, and they are hoping to find other resources to extend that into the future.

To register for the workshops in Quesnel, call 250-992-2322 or visit

Attracting and Retaining Great Employees will run 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sept. 17. Motivational Interviewing will run 1-4 p.m. the same day. On Sept. 18, Bridging the Generational Gap will take place 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All workshops will be run at The Lodge at 1262 Maple Heights Road.

The workshops are sponsored by the Community Futures Wildfire Business Transition Project with funding from Western Economic Diversification.

READ MORE: Emotional toll of 2017 wildfires – United Way community wellness managers working to fill the gaps

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