U of S business school partners in Saskatoon’s largest opportunity fair targeted to Aboriginal youth
Release Date : February 10, 2012
Over 650 high school students attended The Future is Yours Opportunity Fair, co-chaired by the Edwards School of Business and the Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative, on February 8th. The annual event is Saskatoon’s largest career fair targeted to Aboriginal youth and has become a model for connecting local businesses, non-profit organizations and educational institutions with Aboriginal youth from around Saskatchewan.
Lois Standing, Director of Aboriginal Business Education Programs at the Edwards School and co-chair of the initiative, says the fair helps students explore all opportunities available to them. Of the over 50 exhibitors, Standing says, “There are both educational institutions and employers so it gives students the chance to explore all the options that they have.”
“You learn a bunch of stuff and see what you’re really into,” says eleventh grader Shyanne Thomas. After attending the event for the second year in a row, Thomas has advice for first time students. “Don’t be shy and ask questions,” she says.
Grade 12 student Conrad Peekeekoot from Ahtahkakoop School made sure to stop by the University of Saskatchewan Human Resources booth to learn about the school’s engineering program.
“You should go for what you like,” he says. “I’m going for engineering – that’s what I like.”
Wednesday’s event also included concurrent professional development and informational workshops from several local organizations such as PotashCorp, Junior Achievers and the W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
Human Resources Coordinator at PotashCorp Lyle Acoose says he attends the event to offer students knowledge about the company, including, “where we operate here in Saskatchewan and the routes students might take when they’re finished high school. It helps them know what educational programs to take in order to get considered down the line for positions with PotashCorp.”
Ena Rodreguez volunteers with Canada World Youth and says she enjoys talking with the students about her experience. “We talk about all the things you can learn and share in the program. It’s a great opportunity to travel to other parts of the world,” she says. “I’m from Nicaragua and this is my first time in Saskatoon.”
The Opportunity Fair launched with a gala on the evening of February 7th which included, for the first time, a networking activity where students had the chance to win an iPad. “We had about 80 participants,” says Standing. “It was really interesting and the activity made networking really fun.”
"It is important that young people get concrete visions of their future prospects,” says Dean Daphne Taras. “This Opportunity Fair is exciting and, as Dean of the Edwards School, I hope we ignite the ambitions of students for both education and good jobs."