Portrait photo of Brenden and Paula

Meet VIU’s new career services staff!

March 6, 2022

Brenden Johnston and Paula Deering will enhance job opportunities for students

VIU just added two new career services staff members who will focus on getting more employers to hire students, and helping students become more successful in work-integrated learning opportunities (like co-ops and internships) and transitioning to the workplace.

Brenden Johnston is VIU’s new Employer and Student Engagement Specialist, and Paula Deering is the new Career Service Specialist in the Centre for Experiential Learning. Their positions are made possible thanks to an investment by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training that aims to regain lost ground for youth disproportionately impacted by the job losses and employment slowdown in some industries due to the pandemic. 

Brenden is tasked with recruiting employers in central and north Vancouver Island to enhance and build new work-integrated learning opportunities for students. Paula will provide career development services to students and prepare students for the transition to the workplace. Thanks to these new resources, look out for the Career Studio, launching this Fall 2022 to offer students a whole suite of resources and opportunities.

Here's a bit more about Brenden and Paula:  

About Brenden, Employer and Student Engagement Specialist

Brenden looks forward to getting to know everyone in person, but here are some fun facts about him as a newcomer to the VIU community: He grew up in Nanaimo and is a member of Vancouver Island's Kwakiutl First Nation. Brenden obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Victoria and, soon after graduating, moved to Spain to pursue his master’s degree in management.

As a student, he saw co-op semesters as great opportunities to identify strengths and professionally experiment. This led him to work within Canada’s public, private and non-profit sectors. And it was through these diverse experiences he learned to enjoy working with others and seeing his team and community collectively reach their goals.

This was true in his sales role with Canucks Sports & Entertainment before the pandemic. It was also true in his most recent role as manager of the Kwakiutl Entrepreneurial Skills Program, which brought business plans to life and supported Indigenous people entrepreneurs in Port Hardy. He hopes to use this collective experience to similarly support the VIU community and help us achieve our goals together. 

To close on a more personal note; he loves all things sports-related, so please feel free to swing by his office (Building 255, Room 222) and say hi, chat about careers, debrief on the latest Canucks game, or discuss anything else that’s on your mind! 

About Paula: Career Services Specialist

Paula Deering is a Career Development and Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Professional with more than eight years of experience working with a diverse client base for career exploration and employment planning and preparation. She has worked as an employment counsellor, facilitator and return to work disability case manager, and has experience in sales, marketing and community outreach.

Paula obtained her Career Development Certification from Simon Fraser University and is a member of the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals and the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada. She has led career exploration and employment readiness workshops for clients at Work BC and for WorkSafe BC injured workers. She has more than four years of experience working with survivors of violence and multi-barriered clients, assisting them in obtaining practical work experiences to build their resumes and close employment gaps following injury and mental health setbacks. Paula takes pride in her work and has been told that she provides a safe, professional and fun environment where people feel comfortable sharing and growing. She’s committed to providing encouragement, guidance and industry expertise to prepare clients for success in their job search.

A lifelong learner who finds joy in assisting people in setting and meeting their goals, Paula is a cheerleader for her clients and is truly passionate about the role she plays in the job seeker’s personal journey. She has a strong desire to influence and motivate people, helping them see and develop their potential through a coaching leadership philosophy.

Paula is a wife and mother and lives in Ladysmith, BC, with her family and dog. Her son is currently attending VIU in a trades program. Paula loves the outdoors and participates in activities such as hiking, gardening, boating and kayaking. She loves to cook and enjoys yoga, reading and painting. 

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