Ali-Anna Scott, 15, carries the Super Light 37 helmet with help from Kelly Korol, director of training with DiveSafe International. Students could speak with employers and get hands on with skill-based activities during the Find your Fit tour in Nanaimo, Feb. 8 and 9. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Students get hands-on experience during job fair

WorkB.C.’s Find your Fit tour stops in Nanaimo

Nanaimo students got a hands-on in exploring career choices this week during the province’s Find your Fit tour.

The job fair by WorkB.C. has been making stops across the province, including John Barsby Secondary on Thursday and Friday, when more than 1,000 elementary and high school students across the district had the chance to speak with employers, see job market information and try their hands at skill-inspired activities, like flight simulation and checking blood pressure.

The public could also attend.

The program is all about giving students a hands-on experience to explore what their future looks like and what career paths they want to go down, according to Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training.

It’s also meant to address B.C.’s labour shortage, with the activities all tailored to in-demand jobs such as in health care and technology.

“There’s over 900,000 jobs that need to be filled in the next 10 years,” said Mark, who adds she wants to make sure opportunities are created for young people leaving high school to get in those in-demand jobs. “The best way to do so is to expose them to what opportunities lie ahead.”

Rob Gowan-Smith, Nanaimo school district careers coordinator, said the district is looking at and investing a lot of time and work in helping students transition from school into the workplace and the Find your Fit tour was right up the district’s alley.

He said the feedback has been phenomenal from kids of all ages and he hopes students walk away with a little inspiration, self-worth and look at how they can take interests and hobbies and apply them to careers. The world has changed a lot and technology, for example, can be applied in so many different ways, he said.

“You can love coding and you can go get a job as a heavy duty mechanic working on systems or as a plumber working on boiler rooms and electronics,” he said. “You don’t have to be somebody just sitting behind a computer working at Microsoft, [those kinds] of industries are so much bigger than they ever were before.”

Student Liam Bradley, 15, said because he’s a visual and hands-on learner, he liked the event to learn about all the things he can possibly do.

Ali-Anna Scott, 15, said it’s a good way to help high school students learn about career paths. She’s wanted to work in marine biology and has always been interested in the sciences.

“This kind of helps me see what else there is,” said Scott.

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