Started out of their barn by the Pask family in 2003, Fernie Brewing Co. was the little business that could. Now distributing its products across western Canada from BC to Manitoba, Fernie Brewing has grown from a handful of employees to several full-time staff.

But like many Basin businesses, Fernie Brewing experiences challenges in meeting its growth needs with additional resources, finding the right people to increase capacity and balancing everything against cost constraints.

Enter the Trust’s Career Internship Program, which enabled Fernie Brewing to create a new position. Vicky Honsberger, HR Manager for the company explains.

“As a smaller company, growth has to occur within an opportunity and the Career Internship Program provided that opportunity. The program allowed us to create a position that would provide value for the organization going forward and pay a competitive rate for a recent university graduate who has the potential to move into other roles and help grow the company.”

Photo: Mark Shannon

The Trust’s Career Internship Program was created to help businesses like Fernie Brewing, as well as non-profits, Indigenous organizations and local governments in the Basin. The program helps solve the puzzle of the capacity and resources needed to hire and train new employees or plan for succession, while supporting graduates in finding employment in their chosen field.

Attracting and retaining the right employees can also be a struggle for businesses and organizations in the Basin.

“We have challenges with getting the right people. Stats Canada recently reported that BC’s unemployment rate is at three per cent. To attract the right individuals, we have to be competitive—not only in terms of salary, but also to provide a compelling job experience for the right employee. The Career Internship Program has helped us achieve this,” added Honsberger.

Working on the order desk at Fernie Brewing Co., Sam Higgins is learning a lot about the business and loving it.

“I work on the orders desk as a first point of contact for accounts including working with provincial liquor boards. I interact with the whole brewery from the brewers and packaging to the warehouse, and marketing and accounting. It’s great to be involved in so much of the day-to-day operations—there’s never a boring day here.”

Sam is enthusiastic about his role and will continue in the full-time, permanent position with Fernie Brewing Co. at the end of the internship. He is living in a community he cherishes at a job he feels connected to and excited about.

“The Career Internship Program has provided an incredible opportunity for me. It’s allowed me to start working in the career I went to school for in a community I love and for a company I love. I feel very lucky.”

The Trust’s Career Internship Program provides eligible employers with up to 50 per cent of an intern’s salary (up to $25,000 over a seven to 12-month term) for full-time, career-focused positions that lead to permanent employment.

Accepting applications now.