Trades expo expected to draw about 3,000 students

Combining trades and professions gave Central Alberta students a whole lot of options at a career expo at Westerner Park on Wednesday.

Quinn Contracting apprentice Zak Johnson supervises H.J. Cody School students Ashley Thomas

Quinn Contracting apprentice Zak Johnson supervises H.J. Cody School students Ashley Thomas

Combining trades and professions gave Central Alberta students a whole lot of options at a career expo at Westerner Park on Wednesday.

About 3,000 students were expected to visit the 45 trades companies and 60 professional organizations represented on site.

Holly Bilton, field director with CAREERS: The Next Generation, said it’s the first time trades and professions have attended the same expo and the variety of careers represented will be an eye opener for students.

“When the student has the opportunity to meet up with somebody in something different they get an option so see something they haven’t thought of before,” Bilton said on Wednesday while students poured through the doors to fill their bags with pamphlets and participate in career-related activities.

Grade 10 student Lisa Hicks, from Alix-MAC School, said coming from a small, rural town, the event was almost overwhelming.

“I’m pretty impressed by what they have,” said Hicks who visited booths about naturopathic medicine and forensic sciences.

Grade 12 student Jana Woon, from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, said the expo now has her thinking about a career in massage therapy.

“It’s very helpful, otherwise I wouldn’t know what to do,” said Woon, who picked up information on schools that teach massage.

Grade 10 student Tyler Hartigh, from H.J. Cody High School, also checked out post-secondary schools at the expo.

He’s thinking about getting a degree in computers as well as taking a trade.

“I figure if my career in computers flops out I want to go into a trade of some sort,” said the Sylvan Lake student.

George Van Drop, of Quinn Contracting Ltd. of Blackfalds, said the trades are still a great option for students who are more interested in working with their hands, despite the economic downturn.

Louie McCullagh, with Studon Electric & Controls Inc., said the economy is just experiencing a realignment after several years of growth and new electricians can still earn in excess of $100,000 annually within five years.

“Is that something that should interest people? It sounds to me like it ought to.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com