Palliser students look to the future

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Nicole Elaschuk of Picture Butte High School, at left, gets a hands-on introduction to dentistry at the Exploring Possible Industries and Careers (EPIC) Day career fair.

LETHBRIDGE – Tristan Inaba is still unsure what life after high school holds for him, but the Grade 11 student does know what he’s looking for in a career.

After getting an introduction to several possibilities at the EPIC Day interactive career fair, the County Central High School student doesn’t believe his ultimate choice will come down to the paycheque it offers.

“Probably something that I could do every day, that I wouldn’t get bored of,” said Inaba of his top criteria in a career. “So maybe even having something different, like new puzzles to solve every day.”

In addition to a handful of his Vulcan schoolmates, Inaba was joined at Exhibition Park by more than 30 students from Palliser Regional Schools in Carmangay, Coaldale, Coalhurst, Nobleford and Picture Butte. In total, more than 450 students from 36 schools across southern Alberta took part in the Career Transitions event.

The Exploring Possible Industries and Careers Day has previously featured work pathways in the trades, health and agricultural sectors. This was the first year jobs under the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field were added, and Inaba took full advantage. With math and science among his favourite classes, he checked out booths offering a hands-on look at computer programming/engineering, research technology, mechanical engineering and civil engineer technology.

“I’m really glad I came because it gave me a better idea of some jobs and gave me some new ideas of what I can do,” said Inaba. “It just gave me a whole new perspective on what I can do with my future.”

Nicole Elaschuk likes biology and chemistry and has an interest in the workings of the human body. The Picture Butte High School student checked out health sector booths including dentist and dental assistant/hygienist, massage therapist and emergency communications officer (dispatch).

“I think dietician was probably my favourite one. I see myself doing that one most likely,” said the Grade 12 student.

After checking out exhibitors in their chosen field in the morning, students were free in the afternoon to either try a different sector or go back to one of their original choices to get more information. Elaschuk planned on going to the STEM area upon the advice of her school’s career and academics counsellor.

Coby Murphy had a pretty good idea of her career path going into the event.

“I just wanted to get more information about being a hair stylist, because that’s what I really want to do,” said the Grade 12 student from Kate Andrews High School. “I love to colour hair. I do my own hair all the time and I do some of my friends’ hair too.”

Murphy also checked out trades sector booths for welding, baking, cooking, painting and interior design, with the latter career providing her with some intrigue. Despite her keen interest in hairstyling, she still apparently has an open mind.

“I think I’ll go and check out the health sector,” said Murphy of her afternoon plans.  “Just to kind of check it out, get more options.”

EPIC Day was designed to not only help students recognize the wide range of occupations available to them, but aid them in making informed post-secondary decisions. For more information on the Chinook Regional Foundation for Career Transitions, go to