Organizers called last week’s career fair a success and are even looking into the possibility of doing it again next year.
“We didn’t get the community commitment we were expecting,” said Lesli Ward, adding that if the event went on every year, she thought Hay River residents and businesses would know what to expect.
“We have to be competitive. When Alberta is having these fairs every three months, it’s not enough for us to have something every five years.”
The last such regional career fair in the South Slave was held in 2009. Last week’s drew students from Fort Resolution, Fort Smith, Fort Providence, Whati and Trout Lake. In the past, individual schools have hosted smaller-scale trade and career fairs, but Ward argued for a larger event.
“People were surprised at how professional it looked,” she said. “And the kids were really impressed coming in here and seeing it all set up for them.”
Lisa Smith was on hand with the forestry division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and said the fair was a good opportunity to recruit for their summer student program.
“Usually we hire students in the ENRT (Environment and Natural Resources Technology) program with Aurora College in Fort Smith,” she said.
“But we’re here targeting some of the older kids for future programs.”
Smith said, apart from this and similar events, there isn’t much in the way of a recruitment drive to fill those positions. She also said that the variety of careers within the department can fit skill and training levels ranging from trades school diplomas to university degrees.
“There are opportunities all over the territory, not just in the South Slave,” she said.
“The advantage to events like these is that you can show people it’s a relevant choice – maybe even more so for students from the smaller communities outside Hay River.”
Brent Kaulback, assistant superintendent for the South Slave Divisional Education Council, which hosted the fair, said he thinks events focused on what comes after school are an important educational experience for students.
“It enables them to set goals and work towards them,” he said. “I hope they walk away with an awareness of what’s out there for them, both in terms of what’s available territory-wide and for local employment.”