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Opportunities New Brunswick job fair moved up after call centre layoffs

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WATCH: The closure of two call centres in New Brunswick last week has left more than 200 people out of work. But as Silas Brown reports, some are getting a shot at new jobs – Apr 3, 2019

A job fair put on by Opportunities New Brunswick and Contact NB Wednesday looked to give some of the 150 people laid off by S&P Data a shot at a fresh start.

“The job fair was always in the works to be done,” said Jim Hennessy with Opportunities New Brunswick. “We were looking at later this spring possibly, but of course with what transpired with S&P data last week we put things together a little quicker than we thought we were gonna have to.”

The fair brought together about a dozen employers who are looking to fill about 600 vacant positions. The event took place just down the hall from the S&P Data office and many of those laid off were present.

“I’m here looking for a job, hopefully find an opportunity to keep on paying the bills,” said Roger Adams, one of the many impacted by the layoffs.

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Adams said there was no notification that the office was closing and he, like many others, only found out when he showed up to start his shift. Adams said he received a notification from the company’s scheduling app saying that his shift had been cancelled, which he found odd but chalked up to a system malfunction.

It was only when he saw posts from coworkers on Facebook that he began to suspect something was wrong.

“I just checked my Facebook as I was having my breakfast and saw that tons of people were talking … and they were all talking about how things were closed, S&P had shut down, we were being laid off. So I got dressed, came in to S&P, brought my headset and kind of asked what was going on,” he said.

“It was really quite a shock, you know, to come in and, you know, not even get like a phone call or anything to say it was happening. You know I know some people who worked early that morning were probably the first ones to arrive to find out they didn’t have a job. It was definitely a big shock.”

Adams said management “was visibly surprised” when they greeted him at the door, notifying employees that they were being laid off and offering condolences.

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It’s been a stressful weekend for Adams, but after a morning at the fair he already has a couple interviews lined up. Hennessy says that dedicated and experienced workers like Adams are in high demand in the province’s growing call centre industry.

“This isn’t a job, this is a career. This is something that you can really take one, that you’re not just going to, you know, maybe get tired or maybe just not be interested in it after six months,” he said.

“The jobs are very challenging, the jobs are always evolving. So there’s always a training process, there’s a next step process and there’s always room for advancement.”

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