College hosts third annual Indigenous Career Fair

By: Abigail Wall

More than 200 students attended Red River College Polytechnic’s third annual Indigenous Career Fair last week.

“It’s a good networking base,” said RRC Polytech student Joshua Shuttleworth.

Shuttleworth said he was excited about the opportunities being showcased at the fair, with the college hosted with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.

The event started as a way to help connect students with potential job opportunities, said Carla Kematch, director of truth and reconciliation and community engagement at the college. This was the first in-person Indigenous Career Fair after the two years of virtual events due to the pandemic.

“The event was a huge success this year. Online was very difficult to get any traction. So this was unbelievable,” said Kematch.

“This year it became a reality of finally doing what we had envisioned three years ago,” Kematch added.

Some students said they are tailoring their class schedule after seeing what job opportunities are available at the career fair.

“It’s nice to think about, because then I don’t have to worry about searching for jobs,” said Shuttleworth.

Shuttleworth said it’s also reassuring to know that some of the businesses at the career fair follow students during their schooling journey to potentially offer them a job once they graduate.

The third annual Indigenous Career Fair took place on Red River College Polytechnic’s Exchange District Campus in the Manitou a bi Bii daziigae building on Jan 18. 2023. (Abigail Wall)

The event specifically catered to Indigenous students and previous graduates. Renata Meconse, a board member of the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, said she was excited to feel the Indigenous presence on campus. 

“It’s good to know that students have a culturally relevant and safe space,” said Meconse. “When I went to school, I felt an Indigenous connection was missing.” 

Students and graduates were invited to watch the Roundhouse Auditorium Panel discussion at noon. Students heard from the panelists, Indigenous college alumni, who had the opportunity to speak to students about their experiences in different industries.

Even though many industries were displayed at the event, not all industries were represented, which isn’t ideal, said Tessa Cochrane, a student at RRC Polytech.

“There’s nothing I’m really interested in,” said Cochrane. 

None of the booths had trade jobs, Cochrane said, which she was hoping to find.

The event organizers wanted every employer to have at least one full-time position available and capped the limit at 30 booths. 

One instructor, Lindsay Smith, said she wants to see her students be able to apply the skills that they learned in the classroom to the workplace. 

“Inviting employers to see also where the students learn and how they interact is important,” said Smith. “Having people come into your space at your convenience shows that they’re probably a supportive place to work.”

Based on this year’s Indigenous Career Fair, the organizers plan to have more employer booths because they can fit about 50 in the building for the next event.