CEC hosts annual Career Pathways event in Mono

April 6, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Close to 1,000 soon-to-be high school students were given a taste of what the real world has to offer this week as the Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin Career Education Council (CEC) held its annual Career Pathways event at Compass Community Church.

Back with a bang following a brief sabbatical in 2016, Career Pathways Dufferin has been a staple in the community for the best part of a decade. This year, the event featured 46 different exhibitors and speakers representing a wealth of workplace segues and sectors. Speaking to the Citizen, Executive Director of the CEC Kelly Schafer said she was happy to see the annual event return to the community.

“This careers exhibit has been ongoing on this community for numerous years, but the Career Education Council has taken a leading role in organizing since 2009,” Ms. Schafer said. “This year, we had the opportunity to do a little bit of a refresh – we’ve got a new location, new exhibitors, new rotation schedule… It’s essentially a whole new event.”

With organizations such as Headwaters Health Care Centre, Theatre Orangeville, the Canadian Armed Forces, Orangeville Police Service, Fiddleheads Care Farm Inc. and TransAlta on hand over the course of the day, there was a wide variety of potential career paths on hand for students to explore.

Split into three distinct sections this year, Career Pathways Dufferin is the “best way” for students to learn about potential employment, volunteer and co-op opportunities.

“We have three main features of our career event this year – there is a speaker panel that includes five different individuals that have taken part in our program in the past, or been influenced by the CEC. They talk about developing careers for themselves that others, and in some cases even themselves, didn’t think possible,” said Nancy Ariss, area coordinator for the CEC.

She added, “Then we have our main floor where the majority of our vendors and exhibitors are situated. The students have around 40 minutes to walk around and get a feel for the different educational and career opportunities that are available in our local communities. Our third and final section highlights numerous organizations that are actively looking for volunteers, so in some cases students are able to make connections and get a real look at a potential career and employer.”

Starting at 9:30 a.m. and wrapping up at 2:15 p.m. the CEC welcomed Grade 8 students from 21 different schools spanning three boards and districts (Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board, Upper Grand District School Board and Wellington Catholic District School Board) once all was said and done. Following the event, Ms. Schafer reflected on what she thought was a very successful exhibition.

“The CEC’s mandate is to provide youth with meaningful opportunities for career exploration, experiential learning and skill development – I think we did that today,” Ms. Schafer said. “We want to make sure that our next generation is exposed to all the different opportunities that are out there in Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin County. I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that there were careers represented here today that youth just wouldn’t come across on a day to day basis, so it’s an extremely worthwhile event.”

With this year’s event now over Ms. Schafer indicated work would soon begin on the 2018 Career Pathways Dufferin exhibit.

“We’re really hoping to grow this event moving forward and getting as many students as possible through the doors and exposed to the opportunities that exist in this region,” Ms. Schafer said. “As far as our spectrum of exhibitors goes, we were absolutely delighted with the turnout and if anything we just want to build on the core group we already have in place. We’re perhaps missing a few things, such as accounting or real estate, so there are some opportunities there for next year.”

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