On October 28, the Career Life Education course had a community event organized by Riverside’s librarian, Ms. Susan Henderson, which is designed to give grade 10 students the opportunity to speak to professionals in the work industry and to explore a variety of future career paths.

Career Life Connections is a course that teaches students life skills; such as, budgeting money, preparing for life after high school, getting a job, deciding on career goals, and more.

A woodworker shares his products at the event.

Every year, the classes attend the event in the library and people from various professions share with students their experiences with their career and how they got there. Some of the jobs people had this year included a woodworker, an athletic doping control officer, a sergeant for the VPD, a business manager, a lawyer, and many more.

Cathy Chapell, one of the speakers, was a doping control officer who worked for the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sport. She shared with the students how curiosity and volunteering can lead to great opportunities. “I actually volunteered at the world weightlifting championships thirteen years ago and I was put as a volunteer in anti-doping. The people that were in charge of anti-doping, and myself, were both thrilled, and I stepped into the career at that point. Had I not volunteered, I would not have had this opportunity or this job, so you never know where your volunteer experiences may take you, ” said Chapell.

Chapell also explained how the community event at Riverside is a very good opportunity for grade 10 students to not only explore career paths but to practice communication skills. “Any opportunity, that young adults have to be able to talk to different people is huge, as communication is so important, and they will have to do that within a job regardless. This event gives them a good chance to be able to experience and find out new things, such as other types of jobs that are unusual, or even research something that they wouldn’t have seen as an opportunity beforehand,” said Chapell.

Grade 10 student, Jenna Frers said that she visited people with professions that she did not think she would necessarily be interested in, to explore new career paths she may not have thought about before the experience. “I think Ms. Cathy Chapell was the most interesting person I met because she works with doping control; she’s even worked at the Olympics, and this is not necessarily a career I might have thought about before, but now that I know more about it, it seems interesting,” said Frers.

Chapell also spoke to students about finding their passion; why anyone does a particular job or chooses a career cannot just be about money. As Chapell phrased it, “your passion for your work has to come from the heart and don’t let people or society discourage you in your career goals,” said Chapell.

Grade 10 student, Cassie Robinson, believes she learned a lot from this experience. “Finding what you are passionate about first is important and then go to school after. I think that’s good advice; you want to find what you are passionate about because to take a course in university for something that you might not or won’t want to do later in life is not beneficial, ” said Robinson. As students approach graduation, there is a lot of pressure for young people to commit to courses and a career path that might not be suited to them. Learning about the variety of careers out there in the world is a way to feel more positive about future post-secondary decisions.

The event is always popular with both students and the presenters; enthusiasm goes both ways, with students coming prepared with many good questions.