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Thursday, 09 October 2014 06:23

Career fair attracts people from outside Medicine Hat

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Those students, prospective job seekers and employers from southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan have Oct. 15 circled on their calendars.

The Medicine Hat College (MHC) Career Fair will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Centennial Hall foyer as well as in the adjacent B-Wing of the school.
Shelly Drefs, student career services assistant with MHC’s Student Employment and Career Centre, is happy with how the planning for the job fair has progressed. She has been doing this fall job fair as well as another smaller-scale one in the spring during her tenure at the College which is now eight and half years.
“Our first priority is always the students,” explains Drefs who agrees the ultimate pride she gets is watching connections being made or a student or  employer saying the fair allowed them to be hired or find that great employee.
“There are lots of job opportunities. It gives students a chance to see the prospective (employers) and they can talk to them face to face ... We’re trying to get the student to think outside the box, think outside their pathways. ‘What we think —(is what) we can do.’”
“Without judgement, it gives (the students) the chance to be themselves,” adds Andrea Aarden, a student recruiter and career counsellor with the Medicine Hat College.
Drefs says they have eight new businesses this year including Target Canada and the Alberta Energy Regulators whose representatives are especially excited about participating.
There are other ones designed for rural or non-urban opportunities such as the  traditional agriculture-based ones with a company such as Richardson; RCMP; financial services such as MNP and rural policing which offers up to 150 career specialties. 
She adds different service groups or aid agencies will also be there to highlight some “fantastic services out there” that the public may not have known about before seeing them at the job fair.
Drefs says college officials do everything possible to ensure the exhibitors are given everything needed to run a successful show.
“For some, they say we’re the only show they go to,” adds Drefs who notes they have to have a cap of 65 exhibitors due to space considerations. If there are too many tables, there is a lack of space for people to manoeuvre. As of Oct. 8, it was at 63 signed up.
Drefs says the college doesn’t go after or target particular types of businesses or even government jobs. The college seems to be fortunate in getting a vast array of exhibitors.
“We do give them (past exhibitors) notice, but we just let the chips fall where they may,” explains Drefs.
Some exhibitors have job opportunities directly related to courses taught at the college, but some are unrelated.
Participants come from as far away as Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon’s University of Saskatchewan while others are from Brooks (i.e. JBS) and of course Medicine Hat.
There will be career information sessions open to the public following the event. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be hosting a presentation beginning at 6 p.m. in room S151.
Drefs adds the college is fortunate to have the participation of employment service agencies from southeast Alberta which can help. These organizations include Being Human Services, Alberta Works, SAAMIS Aboriginal Employment & Training Association and the YMCA Employment Centre.
Besides the benefits for the students and employers, the fall job fair’s progression has allowed the relationship between the college and the community to grow. Relationships formed at the job fair with the college have spread to other departments and allowed for different partnerships with various faculties.
“For job seekers, employers, who are overwhelmed and thinking ‘what can I do?’, this is one-stop shopping.”
To learn more about career counselling or to find more out about the job fair visit:

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor