On 6 April 2017, the office of Rob Oliphant, MP of Don Valley West, organized their first Youth Jobs Fair in Marc Garneau’s cafeteria from 4 to 8 pm. Over six hundred fifty people attended the event, including students from MGCI and neighbouring schools, as well as parents.

The Youth Jobs Fair was held in the MGCI cafeteria. Photo: Matthew Tse

Thirty organizations came to MGCI from a variety of industries. These included sport camps like the Toronto Athletic Camps Inc., landscaping businesses such as Davey Tree Expert Company, and government agencies such as the Toronto Police Services. Some organizations accepted résumés to review, others explained their application process to students, and a number asked for contact information to notify students of future positions. Employment counselors, résumé critics, and mock interviews were available to attendees in the library.

Other booths included a raffle station, which required students to submit a survey for a chance to win a gift package and a refreshments station that served coffee and cookies.

Shifa Tauqir, the organizer of the event, said, “Rob really wanted to give the opportunity to youths in the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park area to connect with summer employers.” The organizations that were invited either had Canada Summer Jobs grants from the government or were known by the other organizations that helped plan the event: Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, Centre for Education and Training, Employment Canada, and Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

Most students found the event valuable. Attendee Naheem Khalid said, “It’s hard to find jobs, so the fact that there’s a job fair opens up so many more opportunities.” Another attendee, Huzaifah Patel, said, “Instead of going [from] one place to another, you’re coming to one big place and you can just apply.” However, he also said, “I think it could be helpful if they got a bigger space and more people.”  In addition, attendees in Grades 9 and 10 were upset because most jobs required a minimum age of sixteen. While the youth age range includes people up to twenty-four years old, some felt that since the event was held at a high school, the job opportunities should have been available to all high school students.

Overall, the organizers were pleased with the event. Rob Oliphant said, “MGCI was a great place to hold my first-ever Youth Jobs Fair. As the Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, I know that our greatest resource is our people. Especially our young people. Providing them with opportunities to succeed is a big part of my work.”

A similar fair will be planned for next year.