There’s rarely a shortage of Saanich Peninsula trades calling for educated and eager new employees — as our recent PNR series of stories on the chamber of commerce’s Tour of Industry continues to reinforce.
That’s why a small group of people are resurrecting a trade show that’s geared to employers in the manufacturing, tech and other industrial sectors operating on the Peninsula — and students in area high schools.
After an almost 20-year hiatus, EduTech is making a comeback next week in Sidney. Erin Bremner-Mitchell, a Sidney Town councillor and member of the Town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC), is helping bring the event back. Its main goal, she says, is to connect students with those commercial and industrial sectors and present careers in those fields as a viable option.
The group organizing EduTech has reached out to local high schools and their career counselors, and have invited students from across School District 63 (Saanich). Bremner-Mitchell said they are expecting around 300 students at the day-long trade show.
Twenty vendors have been confirmed — from large employers to small ones — and they will set up at the SHOAL Centre on Resthaven Drive in Sidney. Bremner-Mitchell said students will arrive throughout the early part of EduTech — between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. — time that’s been set aside for students only.
“The school district has been very supportive,” she said, adding business at the event are looking for youth who are interested in careers in the trades, and can offer opportunities for them to learn and work in their own communities.
For students who are still sitting on the fence about a career path, Bremner-Mitchell said EduTech has an “inspirational corner” where vendor participants have eight minutes or less to convince students that there’s a good opportunity for them here.
She said employers like Quadrant Marine, based in Sidney and Vancouver, offer apprenticeships and eventually leading to good jobs right in people’s backyards.
Between 3 and 4 p.m., Bremner-Mitchell said there’s an invitation-only function that will put Peninsula politicians and community leaders in front of the participating business owners. She said this came at the request of both parties, so they can discuss issues facing business — including workforce issues like housing. At its root, it’s a way for them to connect and learn.
From 4 to 7 p.m. EduTech is open to the public — and it’s free.
Sidney’s EDC embraced EduTech late last year and the Town had made EduTech an official part of the EDC mandate. That, Bremner-Mitchell said, gives the trade show a bit more cachet.
Bremner-Mitchell added she’s happy with the 20 businesses who have agreed to be part of the EduTech job fair atmosphere.
“Come and discover the amazing companies you might not know are right here on your doorstep.”
EduTech takes place Thursday, Feb. 15 at the SHOAL Centre in Sidney, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.