It’s been said that young people are our greatest resource. And that’s certainly true for Nunavut where many of the territory’s population are school age. To learn just how important this treasure is, all you need to do is meet some students in one of the territory’s communities or even better join acareer fair that goes to ﬁve communities in one week!
Last fall, a group of grown-up keeners set out to do just that. In November, the Kitikmeot Career Fair participants met youth in Cambridge Bay, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk, and Kugluktuk. The Career Fair included 27 delegates from 25 organizations. Businesses, federal and territorial government departments, Inuit organizations, and educational institutions were represented. A few local organizations joined the event in their respective communities as well. About 700 young people participated, along with many community members.
From the start, it was recommended pro- motional items be kept to a minimum. The goal was for delegates to bring a desire to engage and interact with students. And for their part, youth would bring their enthusiasm, and more than a few questions!
To make sure the event was interactive, Career Fair activities included a ‘passport’ which promoted discussions between students and delegates. Studentswere asked to visit eight or more organizations and ask at least one question at each booth. When complete, the passports were reviewed, and participants wereeligible to enter their name into a draw. Prizes were donated by participating organizations. In Kugluktuk, the Career Fair included a ‘scavenger hunt’ activity. For both tasks, questions focused on engaging with students.
Delegates commented that overall, the attendees were very interested in learning about careers and training opportunities and employment. Younger attendees were excited to talk about what theylearned, and what they might want to be once they ﬁnished school. Students in the high school grades were partic- ularly interested in learning about options available to them, explains Michelle Buchan, manager of Inuit employment and training with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and part of the steering committee tasked with the event. Other committee members included Miranda Atatahak, Tracy Starnes, Marg Epp, Valter Botelho Resendes, Natalja Westwood,Junna Ehaoloak, and Cathy Aitaok.
“One grade 12 student said, ‘I think I found what I want to do,’ which was very encouraging to hear,” Buchan adds.
Logistically, the Career Fair was no easy task. With community accommodations limited, the group chartered to and from communities daily. Communities pitched in with transportation, gear handling and venues.
“The Career Fair was a great way to spark young people to explore more education ideas, and from a Chamber of Mines perspective, the mineral resources industry oﬀers enormous training, jobs, and business opportunities for Nunavummiut,” says Doug Ashbury, public awareness manager with the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines. Mineral resources is the largest private sector contributor toNunavut’s economy.
“A big goal for us is to be a partner in helping to build a strong economy, one that youth of today will be in a position to beneﬁt from in the years ahead. We want youth to know the mineral resources industry oﬀers a bright future,” he adds. “This is a bigreason why the Chamber was eager to participate in this Career Fair and high- light its Mining North Works! public awareness program.”
Finally, and very importantly, the Kitikmeot Career Fair’s success would not have been possible without sponsors, which included the KIA (CIRNAC), Pilimmaksaivik, Kitikmeot Corporation, Government of Nunavut Family Services and Economic Development and Transportation departments, Sabina Gold & Silver, Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation, NorthwesTel, Qulliq Energy Corporation, Rio Tinto Diavik, First Air (now Canadian North), and the ﬁve Kitikmeot communities.
Article submitted by the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines