By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on February 9, 2024.
The Lethbridge College was buzzing with students, alumni and employers during the college’s annual career fair on Thursday with booths spilling out of the gymnasium into the hallway and reaching Centre Core.
Vice president Research and Partnerships and interim vice president Academic, Kenny Corscadden said around 90 employers were present hoping to recruit new graduates and alumni alike.
“It’s a very exciting day for us, there’s a lot of activity going on. We have around 90 companies mostly from southern Alberta that have registered for the career fair here to talk to our students and to share opportunities with our students, to see if we can keep them here and get them employed,” said Corscadden.
He said while the majority of companies present were from southern Alberta, there were a few from British Columbia and Saskatchewan, as well.
“The participants are covering quite a range of different industries, the health sector, agriculture, finance, resource enforcement, policing service, corrections. There’s quite a range of employers and we have just over 60 programs with lots of well qualified students who are being interviewed for jobs,” said Corscadden.
He said in preparation for the career fair the college offered students an opportunity to work on their resumes and to make sure they knew the right questions to ask potential employers.
Â “It’s extremely important getting students talking to employers early. Understanding what the requirements are, what the job opportunities are, is a really important. Part of our goal is to ensure that we provide employment-ready students who can work in industry, get a job and contribute to the economy,” said Corscadden.
One company at the career fair was Martin Brothers Funeral Services and funeral director and embalmer Jessica Mayen-Hart said it was important for them to attend because funeral homes are under-represented in such events.
“A lot of funeral homes can get busy so we aren’t able to attend these affairs, but our goal is to look for new people for apprenticing as a funeral director and embalmer. We’re also looking for transfer people to help us with picking people up from their place of death and transport them to our facilities so we can help the families of southern Alberta,” said Mayen-Hart.
She explained the role of a funeral director is to help families with the type of service they want to have to honour and memorialize the person they lost.
“We would help them book the church and clergy to speak at the service, and we would plan to personalize all of that, we would set everything up for the family like flowers and any memorabilia,” said Mayen-Hart.
Â She also spoke about the role of an embalmer and how important they are to the funeral homes as they are in charge of preserving the body of the deceased in order to allow the family to say their last goodbyes.
Â “If someone was to want a viewing after a long period of time, let’s say they don’t want the service until a week from today, then we have to preserve the body for health and safety reasons, as well as to preserve the body for the viewing for the family so they could say their final goodbyes,” said Mayen-Hart.
Â She said those in the industry are aware this is not a career many think about, as some may be even scared about dealing with deceased people, but she hopes that by taking part in career fairs people can get educated and new talent can be recruited.
Another company at the fair was Midwest Surveys out of Calgary and Human Resources advisor Keegan Hreljac said he was trying to recruit geomatic students and alumni to work as surveyors. He said that even though the program was having low enrolment at the college, the company is hoping to help change that by promoting their job opportunities.
“We’re always pretty busy, our work is steady, and we would love to get more graduates from the college program as we have a lot of graduates who still work for us from down here,” said Hreljac.
He said they also have a number of field crews that work out of Lethbridge as well, and they are hoping to continue to be able to recruit local talent for them.
“We are primarily in the energy industry, we do a lot of work on major pipeline projects, upstream well sites, integrity projects, doing river crossings making sure that all pipes are up to code and everything in between,” said Hreljac.
Â He said one great thing about being a surveyor is that their work is usually never the same, as the projects involve a lot of different areas.
Â “On those major pipeline projects, you could be riding a quad up through the bush marking out boundaries for safe work areas, locating parallel pipes to make sure that everyone’s working safe, as well as engineering for road construction making sure that all the construction is up to code,” said Hreljac.