PORT HAWKESBURY: Students in the business administration, office administration, social services and behaviour intervention programs at the Nova Scotia Community College had the opportunity to mingle with industry representatives during a networking session last Thursday.
The Fall Connections Networking event hosted by the Cape Breton Partnership, the Cape Breton Connector Program, the NSCC Strait Area Campus, and the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce aimed to connect local industry partners and upcoming grads.
“This is a really special event, we did a smaller-scale of this back in March, earlier this year,” Robyn Lee Seale, coordinator of the Cape Breton Partnership’s Connector Program told The Reporter. “It went so well all of the alumni said ‘I wish this was around when we were students.’”
Seale said typically only one-in-five jobs are posted, while the rest of those jobs are found through a social network of acquaintances, friends and family.
The event included two parts; rounds of speed networking where students had short amounts of time to speak with industry partners in a personal setting. The idea was to cement the fact when networking, and again in general conversation, there is only a short amount of time to make a positive first impression.
“Our event last year helped connect students to industry, helped them to see all the potential for careers in Cape Breton, connected them to the Connector Program and the resources it offers,” she said. “It was such a success that the business department wanted to be a part of it and more faculty were interested, and so essentially, we doubled the event.”
The second portion was a general networking with participants and other local representatives of various organizations and businesses. This portion was intended to give participants an opportunity to reconnect on the conversations that might have been cut short in the speed networking portion, create wider connections, and open up new networking opportunities for all involved.
Travis DeCoste, with A Roof Over Your Head Society, spoke with students about the work he does during the networking event last Thursday.
As for takeaways from the event, Seale wanted students to see how much potential there is for a fabulous career here in Cape Breton and in the Strait area, and she wants industry to see how talented the students are, and to see the potential for hiring youth in this region.
“This is important for students because it gives them a chance to get started building their professional networks before they graduate,” she said. “With the connector program, it gives them an opportunity to get employed, or a chance to learn about the opportunities that are out there so they realize they don’t have to leave this island, they don’t have to leave this region, they can have a fabulous career right here.”
Elizabeth Glasgow (right) was one of nearly 38 students to particpate in the Fall Connections Networking Event.
Seale said and it’s fantastic to see all the employers equally excited and eager to meet with students ready to enter the workforce, and the event provides them access to the talent first-hand.
“We talk about it being all about who you know,” she said. “But I have over 170 industry professionals on this island sign on to my program specifically because they want to meet top talent, new talent, and new grads.”
Marissa Murphy was all smiles while she established her professional network.