For Program Director Laura, one of the highlights of Pathways Spryfield’s annual Career Week event is hearing from former students. “Alumni come back and tell current students about their jobs,” Laura shares. “They often talk about how Pathways and post-secondary education helped them get there. It’s a full circle moment that really motivates students.”  

Every year, a wide range of professionals come from as far as Ottawa to take part in the week-long event organized by Pathways Spryfield. This year, the fields represented cover everything from food and beverage all the way to intellectual property law. It’s part of a long-lasting effort to introduce many different career paths. “In previous years, we even invited a local politician,” Laura explains. “He’s a powerful role model, and we wanted the students to know what a career in politics looks like. It’s one of many options students should be able to consider.”

Even then, career programming in the Pathways Program isn’t just about jobs. It’s about planning a future that youth can look forward to. To do that, the staff focuses on getting to know the students in the early years of the program. Then, in Grade 10, staff build on these relationships to start recommending volunteering opportunities and classes adapted to the students’ individual goals. “Talking about the future early on helps us make sure that youth are set up for success,” Laura shares. “We make sure they have the right number of credits to reach their education and career goals, which makes graduation feel even more realistic.”

That personalized support means that students are not only excited when they walk into Pathways Spryfield’s career fair—they’re also very prepared. Younger students come with a curiosity to learn about jobs, and the ones in later grades are ready to apply for interesting part-time jobs or volunteering opportunities. “Before career week, program staff will do practice job interviews with students,” Laura explains. “That really pays off. We get a lot of feedback from employers about the level of engagement and the quality of questions students ask during Career Week.”  



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