Vancouver Island is seeing more newcomers, through the booming tech sector and companies who are recruiting internationally for highly specialized skills. Remote work has also enabled people to make the choice to move to Victoria, bringing their employment from elsewhere.
People place a high value on community engagement here, and there are numerous networks and meet-up groups in Victoria.
Guiding newcomers into the community is something that Sue Maitland has made part of her coaching practice.
What is unique about Victoria?
I’ve never been into cliques — that was a part of England [where she was raised] that I didn’t like. This job market in Victoria is very much about who you know. Employers like to either know you, or know someone who knows you. And those referrals really mean a lot. They go a long way. So if you don’t know anyone here, you’re at a bit of a handicap. I advise people to take it slow. Victorians don’t overwhelm people with inviting them in for dinner right away. That would be something you do in the Maritimes, but Victorians are a little more reserved.
How do you help people with this transition?
I decided to put on a free information session [currently a monthly zoom meetup] called the Insider’s Guide. The document I share with participants started off as a one page guide [listing groups and networks in Victoria], and now I’m up to nearly three pages of places. There’s no one place where all these things are listed, and a lot of them are not posted. It’s me getting out there myself and networking, and then asking people, where else do you go?
Why did you identify this area of need?
I was meeting quite a lot of people who had not enjoyed their move. I just thought, that’s sad because I love the city so much. I wanted to give people as much information as I could — the stuff that it takes years to figure out on your own — so that they can be successful and find their people.