Career and education fair helps Whitehorse students face 'a lot of big decisions'

It's like a rite of passage for high school students in Whitehorse — a visit to the annual Education, Career and Volunteer Expo.

Hundreds of high school students met recruiters from universities, colleges and local businesses

Shayla Bierlmeir, left, and Julie Rusnak were two of the hundreds of students checking out the Education, Career and Volunteer Expo in Whitehorse Wednesday. (Dave Croft/CBC)

It's like a rite of passage for high school students in Whitehorse — a visit to the annual Education, Career and Volunteer Expo.

Hundreds of students went to the event on Wednesday, and had the opportunity to talk to dozens of recruiters from universities and colleges as well as local employers.

Grade 12 students Shayla Bierlmeir and Julie Rusnak said it's both an exciting and stressful time in their lives. 

"Like, being in Grade 12 and having to know what you want to do with the rest of your life, it's a lot of big decisions .... scary," said Bierlmeir.

Adding to the stress are rapidly approaching deadlines to apply to schools, said Rusnak.

"You don't really have a lot of time. Like, if we want to apply for schools for next year, it's coming up pretty quick that we have to start applying," she said.

Melanie Parsons is an Indigenous recruitment officer from Mount Royal University in Calgary. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Neither expected to make final decisions on Wednesday, but said the expo is helpful.

"There's tonnes of booths and information and I think there's, like, places from all over. It's not just specific, there's options for everyone. It's super helpful," said Rusak.

"Yeah, every little bit helps," added Bierlmeir.

During their tour of the booths at the expo they met Melanie Parsons. She's the Indigenous recruitment officer at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

She promotes her school by talking about the support and the sense of community it offers to students.

"You get to know your professors — they know your name, you're not just a number. Getting to know your classmates and working with them quite often, again, builds that community," said Parsons.

"You don't really have to leave campus because we offer everything, you can see doctors, we have counsellors, physio-therapists. We see students as a whole — not just learners," she said.

One of the local employers that attracted a lot of interest at the event was Whitehorse-based Air North.

Students check out the Air North booth at the expo. (Dave Croft/CBC)

The company's human resources administrator, Chelsea Best, said many prospective employees have grown up flying with their families on Air North. She says the company can help young people get into the business. 

"They start in an entry level position — like ramp, cargo, flight attendant — and then we grow them from there and eventually get them into our flight decks," said Best.

The annual expo is organized by Yukon College, Association Franco-yukonnaise, YuWIN and Volunteer Yukon.


Dave Croft

Reporter, CBC North

Dave Croft is a reporter in the CBC Yukon newsroom in Whitehorse. He has been been covering Yukon stories since 1990.


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