Salmon Arm meet-up aims to inspire teens to seek tech careers

Shuswap tech companies inspire next generation

Hundreds of students packed a Salmon Arm high school to check out potential careers in the tech industry on Tuesday.

It’s hoped that the annual meet-up will help local students and companies in the years ahead.

Around 25 Shuswap tech companies in fields such as 3D printing, program and robotics took part in the event, demonstrating their businesses to hundreds of students at Salmon Arm Secondary School.

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“I think it is just to show that this kind of technology exists in Salmon Arm, this kind of job is here. You don’t have to go all the way to Vancouver just to find that kind of stuff,” said Paul Karding who works at Delta C Technologies, a company that produces monitors to measure how much water there is in an oil pipeline.

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One goals of the event is to motivate young people to start thinking about careers in technology.

“I hope they come out of here with a great feeling today about jobs they can look at, careers they can go look at and the whole technology sector that is developing in our region,” teacher John Quilty said.

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There are actually more than 70 tech companies operating in the Shuswap.

One of those companies is Sky Crew Aerial Imagery, which specializes in drone photography and videography.

Owner Dakota Lalonde admitted hiring can be tricky.

“A lot of people have a hard time looking at our screen so they can actually see what the camera is seeing and also piloting at the same time,” Lalonde said.

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So attending the meetup and inspiring the students of today may mean more available workers in the field in the future.

“I didn’t even know drones existed until several years ago so if there was a tech conference at my school that highlighted drones, I would have been ecstatic,” Lalonde said.

“I really hope that there are some young pilots here that, down the road, we can end up working with.”

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The school district and the local economic development society plan to keep running the event every year, potentially helping both young people and employers by building up a local workforce and giving young people new ideas for future careers.