The NSCSC Trades Exhibition Hall follows a kind of “speed dating” formula, as attendees move from booth to booth over the course of several hours, testing out a number of careers in the trade.

by Erin McLaughlin

Toronto, Ontario -- November 20, 2017 -- How many careers can you go through in an afternoon? The Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council (NSCSC) Trades Exhibition Hall, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a centre that provides prospective trades people a chance to get hands-on experience in a number of different careers in the trades. The hall follows a kind of “speed dating” formula, as attendees move from booth to booth over the course of several hours, testing out a number of careers in the trades, including finishing trades, management and sheet metal working.

According to Trent Soholt, Executive Director of the NSCSC, the NSCSC Trades Exhibition Hall came to be as a result of trying to make a hands-on career fair experience that replicates real-life work experience in the trade.

“We [wanted] to use this as an opportunity to bring in youth who can come see this facility and try different activities to make an informed or better informed decision as to what the opportunities are in our sector,” said Soholt. He added that the hall is a great opportunity for students, not only to get an introduction to their apprenticeship, but also to help solidify their skills and expectations in terms of where their careers could go.

The Exhibition Hall was launched in 2014, and is described by Soholt as, “one of a kind.” Each career booth in the hall includes information on career paths and typical salaries. Trades workers are also present and open to answering students’ most pressing questions.

The Hall was rescently featured in a Career Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) webinar titled, "The Future of Apprenticeship: Career Awareness," as part of a series on the future of apprenticeships. The hour-long session featured guest speaker Soholt, who discussed the success of the NSCSC Trades Exhibition Hall, and shared tips on how other organizations can replicate such success. The webinar itself discussed many useful topics, including tips on building one’s own successful career fair in their community, having government and industry buy-ins, finding “champions” to get involved, such as teachers, employers and labour leaders. One of the seminar's key points was that high interaction leads to high engagement. According to Soholt, hands-on activities and interactive booths are the highlight of visitor days.

For more information on the NSCSC Trades Exhibition Hall, please visit nscsc.ca.

For more information on the CAF-FCA, please visit caf-fca.org.