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13 May 2020
By SARAH MATTHEWS
Organisers of country Victoria’s largest careers expo believe both exhibitors and attendees will benefit from changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
About 2000 people attend the Western Victorian Careers Expo each year to learn about employment, training and further education opportunities.
Due to bans on public gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Wimmera and Southern Mallee Careers Association will run the 2020 expo, on June 23, entirely online.
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Expo project officer Annie Mintern said the committee had decided to move the event online to ensure young people in western Victoria could continue to receive full careers support despite remote-learning arrangements.
“Preparations are going really well – way better than I expected considering the current circumstances,” she said.
“When changes happen to events you usually get less participation, but we’ve actually found the opposite.”
Ms Mintern said rather than reducing the scope of the expo, the committee was expanding the number of seminars on offer.
“We have actually had an increase in interest. We have more in the webinar format than we have ever had,” she said.
“There are a lot of people who might not or don’t usually attend because it’s too far. For example, Australian National University in Canberra has contacted me about being involved, which is someone we usually wouldn’t get because of the distance.
“It’s really good for the students.”
Ms Mintern said the annual expo attracted more than 100 exhibitors, including representatives from further education providers, along with businesses and industries that took on apprentices.
“Federation University is a major sponsor. They always have a physical seminar room and will have a virtual room this year, offering different course information throughout the day,” she said.
“There will also be lots of information about apprenticeships because there is a large cohort of people who do go down that path.
“Our expo is a bit unique because a lot of others focus on year 12 and what students are going to do when they finish school.”
Ms Mintern said the Western Victorian Careers Expo was the major platform for information and advice for students in years nine and 10 in the Wimmera and southern Mallee.
“Historically we have the expo in the last week of term two so students can pick their subjects in term three,” she said.
“A lot of expos don’t provide the pathway information that we do.
“You don’t want to finish high school only to discover you needed to do a certain subject to get into the course you want, so that pathway information is very important.”
Edenhope’s Miranda Rose thought she would study a Bachelor of Arts at a Melbourne university when she finished school.
She is now studying an Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management and a Diploma of Agronomy at Longererong College.
Ms Rose will share her experience on a Horsham Youth Council panel during the expo.
“I had a goal to go to university in Melbourne and do a course,” she said.
“I was set on that for about two and a half years through school and I ended up doing the complete opposite of that when I finished.
“As soon as I left school, I realised how many opportunities existed outside of going to university.
“I want to encourage young people to have an open mind and set numerous goals rather than just one.”
Ms Rose said she was excited about the online format. “It will be really interesting to see how it pans out,” she said.
“I almost think maybe more people will get involved because it’s so much more accessible. They don’t have to travel to Horsham or the field days site to actually attend the expo. I feel like we might get more attention.”
Ms Mintern encouraged people to follow @westernviccareers on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to keep up to date with event information.
Exhibitor registrations close on Friday. People can email admin@
wimmeracareersexpo.com or call Annie Mintern on 0419 300 405 to register.
The entire May 13, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!