Belmont puts jobs forefront for youth

Sooke School District wants to prepare students for a new job reality with a career information evening on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

With the B.C. government projecting over 1,000,000 job openings in the province over the next several years with the retirement of the baby boomer generation, opportunities for employment seem to be on the rise.

Sooke School District wants to help prepare students for this new job reality with a career information evening on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Belmont secondary school.

The evening will see a number of industry experts coming to Belmont to speak to students and parents about employment projections and the outlook for career opportunities in the short and long term.

“We do have a big labour shortage, especially in skilled labour, on the rise, but it’s not just skilled, it’s everything,” Roger Hargreaves, district career co-ordinator, said. “Jobs are going to be in demand in the future, it’s just what, and where is important too.”

The information is intended to help the students to make choices as they go through their education and to help parents know which avenues to perhaps steer their children towards.

“The traditional thought of if you go to university, you’re going to get yourself ahead, that may have worked 15 or 20 years ago, but that’s just not true today,” Hargreaves said. “You have to be very targeted on the areas you want to go in.”

A general degree in arts or science doesn’t hold the same weight in the working world it once had. Hargreaves said students should be looking at education opportunities which will get them “job ready,” with a specific set of skills matched to an industry.

“They’re looking for a more practical application of education,” he said.

Sooke School District is trying to stay on top of the trends, offering up information and events such as these to students and parents, and providing programs which prepare students for the workforce, such as the dual-credit programs with post-secondary institutions.

Camosun college, one of those institutions, will be at the event, along with experts from industries such as health care, construction, tourism, applied science and trades.

The event will take place in the cafeteria and runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Presentations from guest speakers will kick off the night, with information tables set up in the main foyer following. The event is open to the public and there will be refreshments.