I’m Tyler Langeloo. I work as a Park Operator at Pacific Spirit Regional Park. I’ve worked in this role since 2012 and as a Park Assistant since 2006. Prior to that I was a Park Worker for 4 years seasonally. Here is my story…
Q: What do you love about your job?
A: Ultimately, that I give back to the community and the people of Metro Vancouver. I help make sure the parks are safe and accessible for the public to come and enjoy. I enjoy how diverse my days can be and working with a variety of staff, public and external agencies.
Q: How did you come to decide to pursue a career in this occupation?
A: I was traveling and there were amazing parks around the world. When I got back home I saw what we have in BC and in the Lower Mainland. We have amazing parks here in Metro Vancouver. It was a natural fit for me to get into parks. I was accepted into the Outdoor Recreation Management program at Capilano College. I did a practicum with Parks when I was at school and that lead me to continue with Parks. I had a seasonal position after the practicum.
Q: What are good traits or skills that someone should have when considering this career?
A: For my position it is a job requirement to have a minimum education of 2-year post secondary diploma. We attract people who love the outdoors and working outside. If you are just getting into the parks operations and maintenance sector for an entry-level position (e.g., Park Worker) it is useful to have some landscaping experience or experience using machinery and equipment (e.g., tractors, atv’s, chainsaws, hand tools, lawn mowers and other gas powered equipment). A construction background is another skill set to have (e.g., for building bridges, fences, trails) and maintenance work experience (e.g., cutting grass, trees, cleaning toilets). There is also a large public component to our jobs and a PR (public relations) aspect. For example, park staff wear a uniform in the field and frequently answer questions from the public about the trails and parks and deal with emergency situations. I receive many phone calls from the public with comments and inquiries. Events and activities take place in the parks where different parties are involved and you need to have good public engagement skills, public speaking skills and de-escalation or conflict resolution skills.
Q: What advice would you give someone considering a career in the Parks Sector?
A: Typically people start seasonally in the parks and if it works out, have an opportunity to return the following year. When full time positions are posted internally, seasonal staff may apply and potentially become employed as full time Park Assistants. This process can take several seasons. It may take up to 5 or more years of seasonal work before seasonal staff obtain a Park Assistant position.
Keep a positive attitude. Take initiative. Show a keen interest in the work. If there are possibilities for extensions to seasonal positions, we look for people who have taken initiative during the season and people who have a “can do” attitude and can work on their own with minimal supervision. Be a self-motivator and self-starter.
Q: Do you have any hiring practices tips to share?
A: The people who stand out in an interview are those who have proven experience and a high level of professionalism.
Note: This Park Operator position is a full time union job under the Greater Vancouver Regional District Employees Union. Park maintenance and operations positions, job responsibilities and work environments are different within municipal, regional and provincial parks.