Conestoga news

January 29, 2024 6:05 AM

Students and employers connect at first annual Magna skilled trades job fair

Top skilled trades employers came out to Conestoga’s Cambridge - Reuter Drive campus for the first annual Magna Skilled Trades Job Fair.

Magna fair.jpg
Conestoga students speak with a representative of Magna International at the first Magna skilled trades job fair.

More than 30 leading employers participated in the job fair on January 25 with the goal of recruiting the college’s skilled trades students for graduate, co-op and seasonal positions.

Magna International sponsored the event as part of the company’s leadership gift supporting innovative and inclusive trades training programs at Conestoga to fuel the trades talent pipeline and address skilled labour shortages.

This was the first job fair attended by long-time Magna employee Matt Mervyn, a millwright and assistant manager of maintenance. He started off as a temporary worker at the auto parts manufacturer, then was hired off the plant floor for an apprenticeship - so he knows what a difference it makes finding the right job out of school.

Chatting with Conestoga students was a great experience for the tradesperson, who knows firsthand the need for skilled workers to come up the ranks behind the many who are reaching retirement.

“I’m so excited about the next generation. They’re going to be able to go wherever they want.”

The Magna booth was just one stop for student Zack Zettell, who is in the final year of the two-year Electro Mechanical and Automation Maintenance diploma program. His aim in attending the fair was to have a few options when he graduates.

“I was just hoping to walk around and network and talk with people,” Zettell said. “There’s a lot of different places and a lot of different companies I wouldn’t have thought of as good avenues to work at.”

Isabel Hernandez is also in the second year of the same program and the job fair was her first, but she came prepared with a stack of resumes to hand out and questions to ask employers.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to see what companies are out there,” Hernandez said.

“It’s nice to interact and see what they’re looking for.”

Other employers included Honeywell, City of Kitchener, Collins Aerospace, Ellis Don, Eclipse, and Maple Reinders.

Chubb branch manager Brad Whitford talked to many potential new employees at the fair.

“We’ve got quite a few resumes that people left with us,” Whitford said. “There was a lot of traction, a lot of students coming through.”

The company has 12,000 employees worldwide in 17 countries, opening up lots of opportunity to live anywhere in the world. Whitford explained the company’s need for technicians and new graduates with electrical expertise are the best because Chubb - which provides safety and security systems - prefers to teach new hires how to do things their way.

“We invest in our employees, so we do our own internal training,” Whitford said.

Student Dane Simpson was excited to hear about all the opportunities including further training once he finds a job after graduating from his one-year Construction Techniques program.

Simpson is interested in the electrical field and wanted to find out how to get his foot in the door at a company, and he appreciated how the job fair offered lots of variety in employers. Just reading a company’s website is not enough.

“I need to meet someone and talk to them and ask a bunch of questions,” Simpson said. “I love how Conestoga does this.”

Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and the growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of post-secondary trades programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices.

Visit the School of Trades & Apprenticeship for more information.