When attending career fairs, comments could be overheard regarding how they “looked the same as they were 15 years ago” and how they had not changed or adapted to meet the needs of new generations. Combine that outdated feel with the ongoing stigma towards certain “blue collar” industries, and career fairs are in need of a revamp to ensure they are worth the effort of both employers and attendees.
For this research, The Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin (WPBWWD) staff attended career fairs hosted by partner organizations Business Education Partnership Waterloo Region (BEPWR) and the Career Education Council (CEC). WPBWWD staff spoke first hand with youth attendees about what they were looking for, why they picked certain booths over others and what career paths they were thinking of taking. Youth were encouraged to take a quick survey where more specific data could be collected in order to view trends that may arise.
This data, once compiled, was shared with partner organizations and employers prior to Career Fairs in the fall of 2023 so that employers could try the ideas that youth suggested. At this time, employers were surveyed to determine if some of these small changes, such as having hands on activities or free candy/swag at their table, impacted not only the number of attendees who visited their booth but also the quality of the interactions.
Through this report, you will see what industries have the attention of youth at this time, what key factors help drive youth engagement, and data showcasing how this approach helped employers. This report is a guide for future career fairs for the time being, and best practices need to continue to evolve as generations continue to do the same.
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To view the report in French click here