Left to right: Letisha Kim, Karen Yu and Sherry Yu, Business Technology Management students, University of Toronto Mississauga
I used to be sceptical about career fairs in university. Maybe it was the overhyped career fair I attended in my first year that discouraged me - it was nothing more than a huge gathering of employers where no real career opportunities were discussed.
You may say I’m biased, but last Saturday’s BTM TalentMash event undoubtedly changed my perspective on networking events and career fairs. Hosted by the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow’s ICT Skills (CCICT) in partnership with Ryerson University, the event persuaded me that career fairs are meant for - actually - finding jobs.
BTM stands for Business Technology Management, which are undergraduate degree programs offered at 13 universities across Canada that encourage students to develop creative, entrepreneurial ways of thinking and teach a wide range of in-demand business and technology skills such as project management, information systems design and many more. BTM programs were initiated and designed by the CCICT committee in 2009 to address the increasing shortage of business professionals with the right technology skills for today’s digital economy.
BTM TalentMash gave booth space to real employers who attended the event to talk to BTM students about real co-op, internship and employment opportunities. And by real I mean the fact that these big name, global corporations have actual, current demand for new business and tech graduates in a whole array of internship, co-op or entry-level rotational positions.
The increasing use of tech in everything an organization does means employers like Canadian Tire, CGI, Deloitte and many others have to scout for fresh new talent that “get” tech to add to their teams. Once hired, employers continue to develop young talent to keep pace with technologies that are constantly changing.
To highlight the demand for fresh new talent, Terry Stuart - chief innovation officer at Deloitte Canada - mentioned the emerging workforce trend called reverse mentoring in his keynote presentation. Reverse mentoring is a widely used practice in today's organizations that pairs senior employees with new grad staff members to learn hot new tech trends like social media. Employers value new grads because they bring outside the box thinking and new ideas that inspire creativity and innovation throughout the whole organization.
On another happy note, I witnessed a true career fair success story at BTM TalentMash. I met Colin Lam and Daniel Wang, recent University of Toronto graduates who were representing Hewlett Packard (HP) at the event. Just last year we were on the other side of the field, attending events like this and trying to get a job. Today, thanks to career fairs, we are here representing an amazing global company we work for,” said Daniel.
With hiring trends shifting in favour of new business and tech grads today, you can only imagine what the workforce will look like by the time you graduate college or university from a tech-related program like BTM. One thing you can bet on is that your skills will be in-demand.
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