WorkLink Employment Society

Tumblebums: Employment Services Success

Posted on Jan 29, 2020


While cancer is devastating to so many Islanders, it can also spur incredible growth and change in ones’ life.  This was the case for Ruban Rebalkin. The summer of 2010 was busy and joyful for him and his wife, Faith, who had just given birth to the couple’s first child.  To provide for his new family, Ruban worked three jobs. But that August, he got injured at his full-time job and had to take leave from work.  “No biggie,” thought Ruban; he’d recover and be back to work soon…except for then, he wasn’t. Ruban continued to have pain in his hip well beyond the usual recovery time for his injury.  When an MRI was run to find out why the injury wasn’t healing, they found a large tumour, and Ruban was diagnosed with plasmacytoma.  Life suddenly looked very different.

Ruban found himself transitioning from the role of a provider and father to that of a dependant.  The couple went from four income streams to one, relying on Faith’s maternity leave EI benefits to survive.  All the while, Faith’s caregiving duties doubled.  “At times my wife had to provide all of my care; it was like she had two infants,” Ruban recalls, “she had to do everything for me.” In order to be available to care for Ruban, Faith started a licensed in-home daycare.  As Ruban gained strength and mobility, he was able to help with household chores, and he eventually felt ready to go back to work. His former jobs were all very physical though, and Ruban realized he needed to reevaluate what work might look like for him now.  So he reached out to WorkLink Employment Society.  There he took some career planning workshops to learn about jobs that might fit his new physical situation. “Jobs in sales were suggested, because I needed to be able to sit for some time, and move around at others, to keep my hip mobile,” he explains.

Ruban also accessed financial support from WorkLink, such as gas cards to allow him to attend workshops and appointments at the centre, and to attend job interviews.  “My Case Manager was really helpful,” Ruban remembers, “She was even able to connect us to a fund that provided a gift card for groceries. I would look in the fridge sometimes and there was no food; there was just no food.  Having this support kept us going.”

As time went on, the family’s financial picture improved.  One morning, Ruban took his daughter to Tumblebums to play.  While there, he noticed that the owner/operator was able to dictate his own movement and posture.  Ruban realized this was exactly the type of job he wanted; he loved children and a business like this would allow him to move around while cleaning or assisting customers, and to sit while completing his deskwork.  As luck would have it, the current owner was looking to sell the business. In 2016, Ruban and Faith were able to purchase Tumblebums and continue their passion of working with children and families.

Life looks very different for Ruban now.  He and his wife remarked recently that their fridge didn’t have enough room for all of their food.  He doesn’t take this fortune for granted, though.  A pay-it-forward program exists at Tumblebums. If a parent comes in and their debit card is declined, there is often money other parents have donated to cover the cost.  And they keep admission low to ensure all families can come and enjoy the fun. Life is joyful again, and Ruban is thrilled he’s able to share that with other families in Victoria now, too.


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Bella Vista Upholstery: A Self Employment Program Success

Posted on Oct 29, 2019

Warren Tremino is the owner of Bella Vista Upholstery services based in beautiful Sooke, BC.  A master at his craft, he’s been in the industry for decades, and was the head upholsterer at a large firm in Winnipeg where he focused on commercial office furniture.  When he and his wife had the opportunity to move to BC four years ago, he knew he wanted to be in business for himself, and he wanted to do it right.  So Warren reached out to Worklink, where he accessed the Self-Employment Program. Here he learned how to write a solid business plan, along with sales and marketing skills. “They taught me about the sales cycle and how to approach prospective clients,” Warren recalls.  Due to this acumen and determination, Warren has worked on a wide range of projects over the last four years: from a small café bench, to a large yacht (pictured here), to furniture for 450 rooms in a hotel.  Warren prides himself on providing quality service with integrity; he takes the time to educate clients, allowing them to choose materials that are durable, but not unnecessarily costly.  “Making my customers happy brings me so much satisfaction,”  he relates, “and I couldn’t have done that without the tools I learned through WorkLink and the Self-Employment Program.” We’re thrilled that Warren provides this service to the island, and that we were able to be a part of his success.

Congratulations, Warren!

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Participant Feedback

Posted on Oct 3, 2018

I would highly recommend WorkLink to anyone looking for a new job,restart your career or anything. The Workshops give you infinite knowledge and the instructors and social workers do a phenomenal job. They are your own cheering squad.

Tammi Meikle, Finance Professional and WorkLink Particpant


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From Dishwasher to Manager

Posted on May 11, 2018

My job search was very frustrating.  I’d never had to do a resume in my life.  A friend told me about WorkBC; he’d gotten a good job in construction through them.  Worklink helped me tremendously.  They laid the groundwork for me to get this job through the job development service.  I started out as a dishwasher, and now I’m the kitchen manger.  I take care of HR issues, ordering, costing and production.  I’m so happy because now I feel needed, wanted and appreciated for my skills.  It’s re-awoken a passion and drive I’d forgotten I had.

Terry Soderman, past Supported Employment Client

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Sarah’s Success…

Posted on May 29, 2017

The best things in life come after a little struggle.
Sarah is a single mom with two young children ages 1 and 3.   She knew she wanted the best for her young family, but didn’t know how to get the training and experience she needed. “I was feeling so stuck,” Sarah recalled.  So in January she decided to meet with a WorkLink case manager.  Together they came up with a plan for how to turn her passion for helping others into a viable career in nursing.  Sarah is now completing an unpaid work experience at an assisted living residence, and earning accolades from supervisors and residents alike.  “She even learned bridge so there are enough players for the residents’ weekly game” her supervisor explains.  Each shift she works, Sarah is more certain she’s on the right path, and plans to enter training for Health Care Attendant certification by July.  With the money she earns as an HCA, she’ll be on her way towards a career in nursing.  Sarah says when she meets other young mothers she can now inspire them to make a positive life change, too.  Well done, Sarah, on creating a bright future for yourself and your family!

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