Gaining the soft skills and tackling youth unemployment
Freya Wasteneys // Contributor
On Nov. 9, students at Capilano University will be given the opportunity to partake in Industry Day, an annual event organized by the Career Development Centre. The event will be held in two rounds in the Capilano Library beginning at 8:30 a.m., and provides students with the chance to talk to industry professionals. This is a great way for students to practice their networking, gain contacts, and receive valuable insight into the often-murky world of “careers”.
Events such as this are especially necessary as many Canadian students admit that they feel unprepared to navigate the job market upon graduation. On the employer’s side, according to a recent survey by the Business Council of Canada, the main barrier for youth is not necessarily the lack of technical skills, but rather soft skills, such as communication and collaboration.
While most students do not expect their dream jobs directly out of university, many are frustrated to discover that careers in their chosen fields are even harder to find than they thought. Events like Industry Day give students from all programs an opportunity to become more comfortable talking to professionals, while also receiving advice on the preparation required to reach their career goals.
After last year’s event, the organizing team received many positive responses from participants, and all said they would either attend again or recommend the event to other students. Building on feedback from last year, Industry Day has also been restructured to allow more face time with representatives, and Nancy Ng, CapU’s Career Development Manager, says that she believes this year’s event will be even more beneficial to students.
In an effort to make the experience more engaging, Ng says they have limited industry participation to five companies with two representatives from each. “We have also limited the capacity to 100 students, with 50 students in one of two rounds,” said Ng. “Since students will be placed in small and intimate groups, they are encouraged to fully participate in the discussion and ask questions to make the most of their time.”
The organizations attending this event are from five different industries: banking, government, healthcare, tourism, and software manufacturing. Returning from last year are the Public Service Commission of Canada and Fairmont. New to the event are BlueShore Financial, Fraser Health, and SAP Software & Solutions.
While the event is not a job fair, Ng recommends that students do some preparation to ensure that they get the most out of the occasion. She suggests that students briefly research the participants, think about questions they would like to ask, and what they would like to gain. Ng also advises students to check out the list of questions on CapU’s Career Development Centre web page.
With spots filling up fast, the event is certainly proving to be popular, and Ng hopes students will make the most of the opportunity. “We want a noisy room with lots of discussions,” she said. “With every student leaving feeling inspired and motivated to take control of their careers.” Since space is limited, it is recommended that interested parties reserve a spot.
For more information on sign up and the event, visit Capilanou.ca/career-development-centre/events/Industry-Day-2017.