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Scenery, surfing perks of these jobs

When Tofino's renowned Wickaninnish Inn looks for employees, some of the key attractions are its spectacular scenery and outdoor activities.

The award-winning hotel on Vancouver Island's rugged west coast has to pull out all the stops to attract staff because of its remote location, said Charles McDiarmid, hotel managing director and part-owner with his parents and two brothers.

Outdoor-lovers working at the hotel find themselves next door to Chesterman Beach and near Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Surfing, hiking, fishing and being part of a "vibrant community of young adults" are part of the incentives put out by the hotel -- and some of the reasons MediaCorp Canada's year-long study of workplace conditions named the resort among the 55 top employers in British Columbia.

For those interested in hospitality careers, the hotel works closely with new staff and encourages talented employees.

"It's working with employees one-on-one to help them be better at what they do," McDiarmid said from Tofino. Follow up coaching with praise helps employees learn, he added.

McDiarmid believes in encouraging staff to take on new challenges, saying "giving them the confidence and telling you know that they can do the job."

The Wickaninnish Inn employs 130.

Many staff have started on front-line jobs and risen to senior management jobs in three to five years.

"This accelerated pace of advancement is far quicker than the industry average in large urban centres, making us the perfect training ground for motivated individuals seeking a successful career in the hospitality industry," the hotel's website says.

Staff are expected to work at a "very high level," McDiarmid said.

"We respect everyone at every level. We're all links on a chain."

The hotel supports employee education, with subsidies for professional membership, plus in-house apprenticeship programs. It also manages a fully-paid health benefits plan that includes family and spousal health coverage to staff at no additional cost.

Competitive wage and compensation package, flexible scheduling and housing are also offered.
Finding a place to live can be difficult in Tofino and Ucluelet.

That's why the hotel has 18 beds for staff on its own property, plus another 30 to 40 in houses nearby.

"We are a full-service housing arranger," McDiarmid said.

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