While the percentage of women graduating from post-secondary institutions is higher than their male counterparts, the number of women choosing programs in Engineering and Technology remains significantly lower.
Okanagan College is introducing a new presentation to this year’s Career Fair to encourage the increase of participation of women in engineering, technology and technician occupations.
This year marks the 38th annual Career Fair at the college’s Kelowna campus. The event is one of the Interior’s longest-running career fairs, attracting hundreds of prospective students each year to explore their post-secondary options. This year, more than 50 employers from across B.C. and beyond will once again be on hand for jobseekers to chat with about career paths and opportunities.
The new presentation is part of Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology, a Sector Labor Market Partnership project funded by the provincial and federal governments.
“It is important to encourage and support women to pursue careers in engineering and applied science professions,” says presenter Marcie Cochrane, Project Leader, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia. “When we include women, there are numerous benefits, including increased innovation, improved problem solving, stronger employee engagement and an enhanced sense of belonging for everyone, not just women.”
Cochrane will deliver the hour-long presentation that is targeted to both female and male, current and prospective college students and will provide insights on engineering career opportunities in B.C.
“I’m really looking forward to this presentation at the Career Fair. It’s great to hear from women who are involved in the engineering industry and any career insights are always a bonus,” says Elizabeth Corbett, second year student in the Water Engineering Technology (WET) program.
The presentation will examine the current statistics of women in these occupations, explore the reasons why diversity in these professions is necessary and share insights on what individuals and employers can do to increase recruitment, retention and advancement of women.
“I decided to get into engineering because I love to understand how things work,”adds Corbett. “It is a male-dominant industry, for sure, but whenever you diversify your team to bring in more walks of life, you will get more perspectives when problem-solving. By encouraging more women to get into the engineering industry, you are doing just that.”
“This industry is so suitable for women,”says Allison O’Neill, department chair of WET. “Women self-deflect out of this profession when they are, in fact, perfect for it.
“The WET program receives more women applicants than our other engineering technology programs do, but in most engineering programs female student make up only five to 10 per cent of the student body,” adds O’Neill.
“Getting the word out is absolutely key,” she said. “Women need to see examples of other women in this industry who have succeeded. We need to expose them at a young enough age. It’s great to include this presentation at Career Fair.”
Career Fair attendees can also check out a number of post-secondary preparatory seminars, tours, activities, program information and draw prizes.
Popular presentations from previous years will return including first-year FAQs with OC Recruitment and Marketing Specialist Blake Edwards and a resume writing workshop led by Alison Beaumont from the college’s Student, Grad and Co-op Employment office.
There will also be an information session about Health Care Assistant roles by Interior Health and a session on policing careers, training and pre-requisites by the Calgary Police.
Students who attend the workshops can have professional headshots taken for free to add extra polish to their LinkedIn profile.
Photos will be first-come, first-served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The career fair will run on Sunday Nov. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus, 1000 KLO Rd. Admission and parking are free during these hours.
For more information and presentation times, visit okanagan.bc.ca/careerfair.