Invest Barrie – Events Train in Technology Career Expo

Event | Invest Barrie - City of Barrie

Purpose of the Project
The City of Barrie, Georgian College, County of Simcoe, City of Orillia, and the Simcoe County District School Board partnered to present the second Train in Technology Career Expo and Job Fair on March 27, 2018. The region is currently experiencing a labour shortage in a number of different areas, and this event is one of many initiatives these partners are working on collectively and independently to try to help address the issue from a business retention and expansion perspective. The Expo was a large scale and hands-on event focused on bringing awareness to the multitude of tech-related education and career opportunities available across different sectors. As an added value this year to our businesses, we included a full community job fair during the afternoon/evening session open to the public in partnership with the local employment resource centres.
Each partner had a slightly different goal for the project based on their own interests, but the overarching goal was to help develop a strong future talent pool for businesses to ensure we can retain them in the region and help them to expand.

Effectiveness/Meeting Objectives
This was accomplished by having a good number of high caliber companies providing exciting, hands-on experiences at their booths to spark an interest with the attendees. Exhibitor space was full with a waiting list for the job fair, (50 Train in Technology and 60 job fair booths) so it was apparent that participating in the event was seen as a value to our businesses. In total more than 1400 students (including senior elementary, secondary and post-secondary) were bussed in and over 1100 people attended during the public job fair session.
The exhibitor feedback surveys indicated a high level of satisfaction with the event, particularly with the Georgian College/post-secondary school session where they felt that the students were very engaged, and prepared. This will hopefully help increase the number of employers interested in hiring co-op and summer students, as well new graduates. The impacts are immediate for those who hired people that they met at the event and long-term for students choosing future careers.

Challenges & Changes made
There were no major obstacles encountered while planning/implementing this project. It was the second time running the event, so lessons learned from the first time made the planning easier. We did initially have the job fair as a separate event and later decided to combine the two events together. This made it a bit more logistically challenging and we had some overlap with companies that had registered for both events that needed to be sorted out, but combining the two events saved time and money for the partners and for the companies registered to participate in both events.

Target Audience
There were several different target audiences for the event:
1) Exhibitors – From a BR&E perspective, business owners in need of employees and/or those that recognize the importance of building a potential future labour pool to their continued success.
2) Students – Post-secondary trying to enter into the workforce; secondary – deciding what career path to take and what post-secondary education is required; elementary – starting to think about what career path they might want to take and what courses they will need to take in secondary school to get there.
3) Job seekers and those looking for a career change.

Any specifics as detailed in the particular Awards Categories
We had several different marketing pieces designed to reach each of our intended audiences. A website was set up as a general go-to place for all the information needed by all the different audiences. A promotional video was developed to build some excitement aimed at all the audiences. Then targeted promotional pieces were developed for each audience that were distributed electronically and in some cases in print.

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