CAREER EXPO - Thousands of Central Alberta youth gathered at Red Deer College April 26th for the annual CAREERexpo to explore career opportunities. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Student-focused CAREERexpo returns to Red Deer

Annual event offers students opportunity to explore career possibilities

CAREERexpo, held at Red Deer College April 26th, helped local students explore an array of pathways to a fulfilling work life after graduation.

Hosted by CAREERS: The Next Generation in partnership with RDC, the Central Alberta CAREERexpo is the largest student-focused career information event in the region.

Last year, more than 3,000 students attended the CAREERexpo and this year’s event was expected to draw about 4,000, organizers said.

“It really brings the community together to talk about those career options and passions that are out there,” said Andy Neigel, CAREERS president & CEO, adding it brings together students, teachers, schools, parents and industry together as a community, “To say here are some options – some exciting options – that maybe you had never thought about.

“It also allows the student to connect ‘learning to earning’,” he said. “We feel great about it, and we feel like the community has made this a priority – engaging our youth.”

Organizers along with the 100-plus exhibitors expected to see students from 37 schools in the region come through the doors throughout the day.

“It’s amazing that we have more than 4,000 students attending this CAREERexpo today – students get a chance to look at a multitude of careers that might interest them,” said Joel Ward, president of RDC.

The initial expo attracted 400, so the growth has been exceptional, he said.

“When we welcome all of these students, it’s a tremendous opportunity for them to experience hands-on some of the really interesting technology within careers as well,” he said, adding that this year’s event marks the eighth year.

Ward also said a number of new programs are launching this fall at RDC including an animation and visual effects applied degree which was just approved.

Another applied degree in ‘live entertainment’ is on the cusp of being approved as well, he added, along with a one-year health program certificate. “There are lots of new programs as we continue our journey to degree-granting.”

Ward said new programs are also all about hands-on learning.

“Technology infuses almost every discipline now. So students are going to get a chance to see that they can build, create and innovate all kinds of new job prospects. This is about the jobs of tomorrow.

“What we also try to have is a future-focus in technology in particular and say to the community that we are still very much in the trades and technology business at this institution. Not just degrees in the traditional sense, but the new careers that we are starting to see in technology, too.”

CAREERS: The Next Generation, a non-profit, charitable organization, organizes the CAREERexpo.

“CAREERexpo is a one-stop shop for Central Alberta’s young people to check out multiple opportunities,” said Neigel.

”We know that our youth are asked questions like what are you going to do with your life or what are you going to be?

“The record high registration tells us young people need support to answer these questions – we are happy to help.”