Brandon’s Keystone Centre was bustling with young hopefuls scanning future job opportunities and study options at the Brandon Career Symposium on Tuesday.
The 29th annual event attracted 106 exhibitors filling 104 booths, hoping to connect with local students and job seekers under one roof.
Among those exploring their options was post-secondary career counsellor Luann Shorting, who travelled from Rolling River First Nation to gather information for her students.
Shorting said she has been helping students obtaining their post-secondary education weigh their career options for nearly eight years and has frequented the local career fair in the past.
"I like to see what kind of new programs are out there," she said. "I’m finding it very interesting.
"I find I always need to update myself."
Shorting added she’s currently working with about 25 students from Rolling River who are interested in a wide range of career fields, from hairstyling to teaching to film producing.
"I’m working with students who are still in college and university and exploring their options," she said. "There’s a lot of things that they’re wanting to do right now."
More than 40 schools from across northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan registered for this year’s symposium.
Among the attendees was Shoal Lake School Grade 10 student Amy Yanick, who said her interest in dirt bikes was piqued at a booth dedicated to motorsports.
"I thought the booth was really cool," Yanick said. "I really like dirt bikes."
A career fixing up dirt bikes is now another "possibility" to consider," she said.
Another Shoal Lake School Grade 10 student, Candace Zenchyshyn, said she was more interested in checking out colleges and universities.
She said she’s looking into pursuing a career in pharmacy after studying at the University of Winnipeg.
With exhibitors from across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in one venue, Brad Dusik, a co-ordinator and instructor in transportation auto body repair at Red River College in Winnipeg, said it’s important for exhibitors to make their booths stand out.
Dusik said having plenty on display with some hands-on activities is usually enough to lure those passing by to stop for a quick chat.
"Lots of the younger generation like their toys, so to speak, so it works out well," Dusik said, referring to the bright blue ATV on display in front of the RRC booth. "It sparks their interest."
Dusik said this is his second year at the Brandon Career Symposium and it’s "definitely" a good recruitment tool for the college.
"We’ve had quite a bit of interest here (Tuesday), it’s been pretty busy," he said. "There’s quite a few who have expressed interest and will likely be joining us next year."
The three-day event wraps up today at the Keystone Centre. The daytime session for registered schools is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.