First Nations Health Career Fair encourages students to pursue employment in health care

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 3:57pm

By Brooke Stephen

Capital Health is committed to removing barriers to employment for members of diverse communities. Part of this commitment involves encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in health care.

On Feb. 27, the Native Council of Nova Scotia and Healing our Nations, with support from Capital Health hosted a health career fair at the Holiday Inn on Wyse Road. The event was open to high school students who identified as Aboriginal, with transportation funded by the Department of Education (Schools Plus) as well as Eastern Shore/Musquodoboit and Southeastern Community Health Boards. The career fair was designed to educate youth on their options after graduating from high school.

“In order to diversify our workforce so that we provide the best care possible to all community members, we need to engage with youth as they begin to think about future careers,” says Anna Jacobs, community development advisor with diverse communities at Capital Health. “This First Nations health career fair is an opportunity to expose First Nations youth to the idea of a career in health and for them to know that a career in health doesn’t only mean being a doctor or a nurse.”

One of the options highlighted at the health career fair was social work. Nancy MacDonald, assistant professor at Dalhousie’s School of Social Work spoke about the need for Aboriginal representation among the student population at Dalhousie.  

“We need students to assert our Indigenous rights in Nova Scotia,” said MacDonald. Other presenters included Jude Gerrard from the Department of Education, Brittney Francis, a youth outreach worker with the Native Council of Nova Scotia and Leslie Labobe, events and community health co-ordinator with Healing our Nations.

Several booths were set up to give students the opportunity to walk around and ask questions, as well as gather information about the various opportunities offered by organizations like the IWK Health Centre, Mi’kmaq Childhood Development Centre, Nova Scotia Community College and Public Health. Several performances were incorporated throughout the day including drumming, singing and hip hop.

The career fair was a wonderful celebration of Aboriginal culture while offering support to students who are interested in pursuing a career in health care. Feedback from students who attended the career fair revealed that it taught many of them a lot more about job opportunities, and they would certainly give more consideration to a job in the health care field now.