Grade 10 students from across Chatham-Kent got some valuable insight when it comes to choosing their career path.
Dozens of students from all three school boards packed into Club Lentinas on Wednesday for the World of Choices Chatham event hosted by Junior Achievement Canada. The annual event welcomes females students to meet with female mentors from 20 different fields including construction and nursing. Each student got 20 minutes with a mentor before meeting with another. The students learned about the education needed for the career and a day in the life on the job.
Jenne Wason, area manager of Junior Achievement Southwestern Ontario, said the event is like "speed dating for careers" and provides inspiration at a vital time when young girls are trying to choose their career path.
"One of the things we love about this event is it's women mentoring women. So, you really see leaders in their fields showing what's possible, how to get there and that they're out there doing it," Wason said.
One of the mentors this year was Renee Cowell with the Chatham-Kent Police Service. Cowell has been a mentor at the event several years in a row and said it's one of her favourites to participate in.
"The world is so diverse right now with career options," said Cowell. "We really want them to start thinking about how what they're doing now will affect their future, especially when it comes to policing. We want to encourage them to think of a career in law enforcement, it's certainly an area where we need more women."
The students were paired up with mentors based on careers they had expressed interest in, but they were also given a 'wild card' mentor to learn about different industries - something that proved useful for student Zoe Clark-Fraser, who went into World of Choices with her mind set on working in a hospital.
"What I initially thought I would do, isn't just what I can do. I wanted to go into nursing but then when I was at the Armed Forces [table] they have nursing there and I thought that'd be really interesting to do," said Clark-Fraser.
Organizers of the event said the students are usually thrilled to learn so much about throughout the day, a statement echoed by Clark-Fraser.
"Usually women are paid less and are told 'no' a lot so doing this and showing that women are in fields and doing really well is really important," she said.