49 Langarans

49Langaran

Gavin Jones

Langara Alum | Social Advocate & Business Leader

When social advocate and business leader Gavin Jones started the Business Administration program at Langara College, he was getting home from his bartending job after 4 a.m. Now graduated, he starts work every day around the same time. And he loves it.

“I start at 5:30 a.m. every morning, but I’m excited to get up, get in to the office and give back to the community,” Jones said.

Originally, Jones thought he’d end up back in the bar and restaurant industry, maybe opening a restaurant of his own, but he stumbled into the Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS). EMBERS is a Vancouver-based charity and the only not-for-profit temporary staffing agency in Canada, and he “loved it from day one.”

Through his BBA program, Jones had the opportunity to do a group business project — writing a business plan — with EMBERS as the community partner. After he graduated, he saw the director of operations role was open at EMBERS and decided to apply. He was chosen for the role in 2018 and since then he has implemented some of the business plan he wrote out as a student.

“Expansions were a big part of that plan,” Jones said. Under his direction, EMBERS has doubled its locations, having opened a new location in Abbotsford in summer 2019 and another location in New Westminster in January.

“We want to offer our services in multiple municipalities because our impact is so huge,” he said of their mission to create opportunities for people living on low incomes. “It’s such a simple, but brilliant concept.

“EMBERS helps thousands of people facing barriers to work by offering economic and employment opportunities, including job placements, training, and support.”

Jones said the new locations are doing “phenomenal.”

“There’s so much skilled labour in the Fraser Valley and beyond for us to step in and help find employment, find work, and partner people up with great jobs.”

Ultimately, he said they’re planning to grow EMBERS exponentially, even opening up some housing for workers.

“Employment can be such a motivator to move forward with whatever people are facing, whatever stage of life they’re at,” he said. “We’re planning to grow EMBERS right across Canada.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media

49 Facts — NO. 27

In 2017, the Langara College distributed over $530,000 in financial aid (scholarships and bursaries) to students.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

  • Barbara Binns

    Barbara Binns

    Retired Employee | Interdisciplinary Educator

    Barbara was an instructor and coordinator in the Langara Interdisciplinary Studies department and taught in Canadian Studies and Women’s Studies. She was an exemplar of engaged pedagogy and inspired students and colleagues through her extensive work in anti-racism, community development, human rights, and international development. A recent manifestation of this long-term work was Langara’s dynamic celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, 2019. Barbara holds degrees in nursing, education, and social work, and has received many awards and accolades for her work in the community, including the Rosemary Brown Award for Women in 2005 and the Development Education Award in 1994. She was also an Election Observer at the First National South African Elections in 1994. She has maintained close ties to Langara and is a beloved elder and mentor to many.

  • Dave Lidstone

    Dave Lidstone

    Retired Employee | Maths & Stats Advocate

    Dave was an Instructor for the Mathematics and Statistics department at Langara for 34 years. He served many roles in the department, including Assistant Department Chair from 1988–1989, Coordinator from 1994-1997, and Department Chair from 1997–2001. He pioneered the use of computers to enhance calculus instruction and developed Calculus I and II with computer explorations to aid students in using computers for studying and practicing mathematics. He also developed the Math for Elementary Teachers course, introducing a capstone project, the Math Fair, making the strategies for teaching mathematics come alive for students. He expanded the services of the Math and Stat Activity Centre by integrating peer tutors with the existing practice of faculty tutors. Dave is a long-standing member of the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMESG), a national organization for the promotion of mathematics education. He sat on the executive committee between 1995-96 and 2012-2014 and co-led study groups in 2005, 2011, and 2014.

  • Glen Coulthard

    Glen Coulthard

    Langara Alum | Academic Writer

    Glen is an Associate Professor in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Political Science departments at the University of British Columbia. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Victoria and is an accomplished writer in Indigenous and contemporary political theory. His book Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition has won multiple awards, including the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book, the Canadian Political Science Association’s CB Macpherson Award for Best Book in Political Theory, and the Rik Davidson Studies in Political Economy Award for Best Book. Glen is also a co-founder of Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, a decolonial, Indigenous land-based post-secondary program operating on his traditional territories in Denendeh (Northwest Territories).

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