Wednesday, 27 January 2016 16:01

MHC set to host a busy job fair Feb. 24

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In light of what is undoubtedly a difficult time in Alberta’s economy and with many people losing their employment, they are looking for answers as the economic climate has changed drastically.


Along with everyone else, Shelly Drefs, career services assistant at the Medicine Hat College, has watched the employment situation in Alberta. She says it has definitely effected the college too and adjustments are being made as it adapts to the current needs.
One program they have had to tweak is the Medicine Hat College Job Fair. This year’s fair is Feb. 24 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Drefs says there are some new features to the fair which has the simple motto of “Connecting job seekers and employers.” With many people losing their jobs in November and the Employment Insurance set to run out in February, the level of desperation for employment planning will be at a fever pitch.
“This recession we had before (in 2008) is something we’ve faced and learned from, but this downturn, we’re having to adjust,” explains Drefs noting when the Job Fair first started, they just had employer panels. “It’s the first time we’ve really done it like this. It’s a challenge. With the number of inquiries we weren’t sure where to start. ...We just looked at where are the biggest challenges for people. We do explore and look at their assessment(s).”
The college holds two somewhat similar events. One in the fall which is the college’s Career Fair is more about ensuring the student or person looking at a career knows how to accomplish their ultimate employment goal while still having a job application component.
This Job Fair in February is more about direct, immediate employment or finding a job for the summer months.
Drefs says with the sudden downturn and job losses in the area, this fair has a lot of extra seminars in areas related to those unemployed in managing such as stress and debt management.
Drefs says college personnel can provide assistance on topics from resumé writing to looking for employment.
The college is attracting a lot of phone calls.
“We’re getting all kinds of inquiries here at the college,” Drefs explains about staff helping to individuals on the path on finding new careers, tweaking their current employment status, doing free job aptitude assessments, upgrading current skills or even learning better job search techniques.
 “The job fair is a good opportunity for people to meet with people who can offer their expertise ... This is a community-focused event. People have to come with an open mind. There will be different types of jobs you wouldn’t expect. For example, the RCMP isn’t just about on-duty patrol, but can also involve computer and electronic expertise amongst other areas.
“It’s not about on-site interviews, but it’s more about making on-site connections ... Take business cards of the places you want to go (for employment).”
The assistance, and of course the fair,are free of charge.
Drefs also wants to emphasize the college is not going to be actively pushing their specific programs at the event. The ultimate goal is to get people on the right career path whether or not it’s at the MHC.
“School isn’t right for some people,” acknowledges Drefs. “We’ll have our one booth set up, but the idea is to first source people and we make sure to refer them to the right agencies.”
Drefs says at last count they were at 30 presenters, but that was just a week and a half after starting to take registrations. They can take around 60-65 presenters comfortably and hope to do that.
For more about career development and the job fair, go to: https://www.mhc.ab.ca/services/careercentre.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor