For the first time since 2019 the Opening Doors to Tomorrow Career & Job Fair returned for its 11th edition on Thursday at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre.
This was first time that students and exhibitors were able to come together for the career fair since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Committee chair Patricia Bibby said it was fantastic to be back in person.
“Having all of the students and all of the community able to join us on site and interact with all of our displayers is absolutely phenomenal,” Bibby said. “The buzz and the feeling in the building is unbelievable. I had almost forgotten what it was like.”
Students had the chance to connect with and investigate a variety of post-secondary institutions, government agencies, private businesses and non-profit organizations.
More than 60 exhibitors were providing hands-on training related activities, job options and career education information to roughly 2,500 students from the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division alone.
Students from outside Prince Albert were also invited to attend, as were members of the public, free of charge.
“We are seeing individuals that are coming from Saskatchewan Polytechnic, we are seeing several individuals who have identified themselves as immigrants who are from Prince Albert who are looking for careers. We are welcoming absolutely everybody,'” Bibby said.
The Opening Doors to Tomorrow Career and Job Fair connects youth with education and career opportunities available to them in the Prince Albert area, Saskatchewan and across Canada. It also provides rural students options they may not have the opportunity to explore in their home communities.
The Career Fair is a partnership between the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Prince Albert Community Futures and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“Together, we work to put on this annual Career Fair. We do charge the displayers to be here but one of the perks is that we take any money that is left over and we turn that back into bursaries for students or employees of any of those four partners as long as they are attending any of the exhibitors,” she said.
“So for example if they are attending the University of Saskatchewan or Saskatchewan Apprenticeship Certification Commission then they are applicable for bursaries,” Bibby said.
“We are really proud of the bursaries that we offer,” she added.
The career fair is the largest in Prince Albert and this year there were many new institutions and organizations involved.
“I would say that we have got all kinds of new displayers that we have never seen here before. University of Regina, First Nations University of Canada, the University of Calgary is here. We are seeing the University of Manitoba for the first time. It's fantastic,” she said.
There was more than just post-secondary with organizations like Skills Canada, Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification and UA179.
“They are hungry for employees; we have got the arena that's being built (in Prince Albert). They are really worried that they might not have enough skilled tradespeople to fill those positions so they are eager and eager to talk to people,” Bibby explained.
She thanked the Prince Albert Exhibition for serving as the venue for the event.
“While we do rent the facility they have just been absolutely phenomenal, so accommodating for us,” she said.
“Teachers are giving up their time and students are coming, buses that are moving, I call it the dance of the buses at the front,” she added.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald