PFFNHS virtual career fair connects students and employers
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Traditionally, Pelican Falls First Nations High School (PFFNHS) conducts its in-person career fair in mid-February. But due to COVID-19, the event is being held virtually this year.
Pelican Falls First Nations High School Guidance Counsellor Shawn Hordy, said that the Career Fair aims to provide students with a platform to experience careers and opportunities that help inspire their futures, and fuel their ambitions to continue school. He added that by the end of last week, they had 53 participating organizations, with over 70 students having completed their passport to prizes.
The event consists of a presentation put together with information from the various organizations taking part. Students are encouraged to invite their friends to complete and return their Passport Forms. Along with the slides that are put together for the event, there is a Google Form consisting of a questionnaire based on various organizations’ slides. The more forms completed will unlock a greater number of prizes to be won.
Commencing on February 11, the event was scheduled to run for a week. However, Hordy shared that upon request from several teachers and students from local schools, the event has been extended for another week, until February 25 at 4 p.m. He said, “It is a kind of a long questionnaire, so it does take time to go through it.”
Hordy mentioned that while they target high school students, they also try to get into grades 7 and 8. He said, “It’s never too early to start recognizing what is out there and maybe spark interest in students’ minds.”
Hordy said that a few addition organizations provided informational slides last week. “I won’t say no to any organization that would want to take part,” he said, adding, “I’ve got lots of positive feedback from the organizations. They were really happy that the information is getting out there and pretty much getting a couple more requests everyday to add in to it. So, I’m constantly adding to the presentation, which is nice.”
Hordy said that he shared access to the career fair information with those who requested it, along with eight other schools in the area that showed interest in using the career fair information, including Sioux North High School, Sioux Mountain Public School and Sacred Heart School. He anticipates over 500 students could make use of this online resource.
However, several students are facing limitations and challenges with going online due to a lack of bandwidth. Hordy said, “Just being new and trying to get it out there and trying something different, we didn’t really have an option to get it to those students. A lot of the communities do have resources available to the students and if they wish they could go access a computer. But that also depends on what type of COVID protocols are, what’s happening within their community.”
Hordy said, “There’s no person-to-person interaction which is obviously the best way to relay information, actually talk face to face and ask the questions you want. A lot of the organizations will have visuals or equipment to try out and just to see, with hands on experiences, which they do not get through the virtual career fair. But at the same time, we are able to reach more students and it’s a resource that can be used over and over again, and will be there to be used in classes going forward. It’s not like a one day event, it’s something that students can go and look at in the future as well.”
Hordy shared that he hopes to see more participation in the years to come. He said, “I think right now, a lot organizations, they are seeing what has been put together and wanting to participate now.”
Hordy concluded, “I’m just hoping for more students to log on and check out what’s available for them and complete their passports and enter to win some prizes. I love hearing the feedback from students being able to access it and participate.”