What do they want to do when they grow up?

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Close to 1,000 students from eight Pembina Hills schools, plus St. Mary School, got a glimpse of what their future careers could be at Making Connections – Face to Face Career Fair and School Expo at R.F. Staples School Sept. 25.

The annual event featured over 100 exhibitors, ranging from career opportunities to post-secondary options.

“It’s a really good opportunity to see what lies beyond high school,” said student Evan Patriquin. “There’s lots of things here I had not thought about for a possible career.”

For the day post-secondary schools occupied the east gym, while the career fair was held in the main gym. In the parking lot a number of other displays were set up for students.

Career exhibits ranged from the RCMP to Alberta Fish and Wildlife, which featured a table’s worth of animal pelts. In addition, NAIT had nine displays to educate kids about careers ranging from laboratory tech to culinary arts and crane operation.

“It was really neat,” said student Alex Ferguson, who took a crack at NAIT’s interactive crane simulator. “It was really great to get a grasp of what is out there.”

Other displays provided students with information on the grittier aspects of job searching, with representatives on hand from Alberta Works, soon to be rebranded Alberta Supports, explained how job boards work.

Getting students working is a top priority for Alberta Works.

“We always have job information available for students in Westlock,” said Alberta Works’ Aisha Ali.

With their heads full of career and school choices, students headed out to the parking lot to take in a series of displays.

Students were able to check out the workings of a S680 John Deer Combine and hydro-vac truck alongside speaking to Emergency Medical Service workers about their jobs.

Town of Westlock fire chief Stuart Koflick and peace officer Randy Burgess were also on hand to explain the tools and challenges of their work.

Expo organizer Karen Fischer said she was overjoyed with how well the event was received.

“It was interesting how specific students were within their feedback, which was an indication of how engaged they were with the exhibitors,” she said, adding that the event was co-ordinated by student volunteers.

“They provided exhibitor support, clean up, and a delicious lunch for over 125 exhibitors.”

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