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Career Transitions gives students an EPIC day to explore career options

Posted on April 20, 2023 by admin

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Southern Alberta Newspapers

The 12th annual Career Transitions EPIC Day took place at Exhibition Park earlier this month and gave hundreds of Grade 9 and Grade 10 students from across southwestern Alberta an opportunity to ‘Explore Possible Industries and Careers.’

Career Transitions executive director, Judy Stolk-Ingram said students don’t know what they don’t know, and she thinks they are not always encouraged to think about careers until they get closer to Grade 12 and she believes that might be a little too late.

“We want them not to make a decision today, but we want them to be aware of the different opportunities and options that are out there. We want them to start to understand ‘what am I drawn to? And what maybe isn’t a good fit for me?’ So, we see this as being very much a starting point in helping them start to figure out what their next step following high school could look like,” said Stolk-Ingram.

She said 12 years ago they had 40 students, while this year they had 900 and she believes that the increase is due to employers and community organizations involved recognizing that there are current shortages and impending shortages in terms of the labour market.

“I think that by being able to open up their eyes, to make them aware of what could be available, what might be possible, and certainly what is available here in southwestern Alberta where there’s a lot of talent and we’d like to play a role in keeping that talent here by introducing them to all these great businesses,” said Stolk-Ingram.

She said it is important to get students in Grade 9 and 10 thinking about their futures so they can have enough time to create a plan and hopefully enroll in the classes they will need to pursue whatever career path they want to follow.

“If I’m in Grade 12 and I determine that I want to be in engineering, the engineering and design program at the college, but then I realized ‘oh I didn’t do the right math’ that could potentially derail some students, so we want students to have better idea earlier on where their strengths are, where their talents are, and maybe what they need to be considering as they move forward with their course selection too,” said Stolk-Ingram.

She described EPIC Day as career speed-dating where the Exhibition grounds were divided into zones and in each zone students had the opportunity to spend 20 minutes at each booth and then rotate clock-wise.

“In every zone, students have an opportunity to connect with somebody from trades, somebody from healthcare occupations, somebody from agriculture and environment, somebody from STEM and also a wild card,” said Stolk-Ingram.

She explained that while they had over 75 exhibitors, that was not enough to keep 900 students occupied so they had split the group in two with half doing a tour of different businesses to see some of the careers being applied on the field.

“It’s really important that they see what business and industry has to offer and that they may open up their eyes to the opportunities that it will exist for them right here in southwestern Alberta,” said Stolk-Ingram.

She gave the example of a car dealership where most students thought they were not interested because they did not want to become mechanics or sales people, but she explained to them that a lot more happens at a car dealership that they are not aware of.

“The average car dealership has a ton of different occupations involved, from a service technician, parts person, service manager, detailers, Lube technicians and those are just some of the ones in the shop,” said Stolk-Ingram.

She added that when you look at the office side of things, there are even more careers involved.

“All the different finance ones, there’s graphic designers, and at Davis they actually have a Red Seal chef. So for kids to be able to get in behind the doors and to take a look and see how all of these different roles play such an important part in that company, or that business’ ability to deliver a successful product or service, that’s kind of what we want,” said Stolk-Ingram.

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