KELOWNA – Finding a career path can be scary for high school students. Thinking about what post-secondary institution to attend is a big decision on its own.
On Thursday, UBC Okanagan hosted their 21st Annual Aboriginal Career Fair to connect youth with professionals in the community.
With 44 information booths, the event attracted more than 260 Aboriginal students from all over the Okanagan. From trades to health care, and engineering – there were options for everyone.
“After I graduate, I really want to go into massage therapy and expand on that. I’ve already started taking a few courses in health care,” says Emma Cohen, a grade 11 student.
Cohen says the event is a great resource.
“The people from my community, they are my family and seeing them step out of their comfort zones and trying new things and looking for new possibility in their life, it really helps,” Cohen adds.
According to youth advocate Edna Terbasket of the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, the event is more than just a meet and great. It’s about empowerment.
“Our kids do not see brown faces in a professional role. It’s important to me to try and group Aboriginal professional people in different areas — from teachers to the RCMP to all the different fields, so our kids could see a brown face and think they can do it,” says Terbasket.
Terbasket says she was involved in the very first career fair 21 years ago and seeing people from the same background breaks down challenges students can face.
But Emma Cohen says her future is bright.
“It shows that nobody is alone and we can really do anything and there’s endless possibilities,” she says.