Mullumbimby kids flock to Careers Fun Day

Traditionally, careers events are pitched at Year 10, 11 and 12 students, but Vanessa Perrin is a big believer in starting the careers conversation as early as possible.

Image: Careers Fun Day at Mullumbimby High School

Two weeks ago, the Careers Adviser at Mullumbimby High School staged a Careers Fun Fair that saw primary school students link up with Year 7 and 8 students for a day full of fun, career-themed activities. More than 500 local students took part, participating in activities that drew their attention to various career pathways, as well as the education and training required to pursue them.

“The idea was to engage younger students, get them excited about careers, and encourage them to start having those thoughts and conversations earlier,” says Vanessa.

Interestingly, research shared by the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) and the Careers Advisers Association of NSW & ACT, among other state and federal bodies, points to the need to engage students on the subject of careers much earlier than many schools are at the moment. It was these findings, combined with her experiences at other careers fairs over the years, that inspired Vanessa to come up with the idea for a fete-style Careers Fun Fair, and to then apply to the Rural Remote Transition Project for funding to stage the event.

“We’re really trying to increase career awareness earlier because we know that by about Year 8 some students have already disengaged” says Vanessa.

Image: Students from seven local primary schools attended the event

Fortunately, there was no sign of disengagement at Mullumbimby on the day of the event. On the contrary, the 500 odd aspiring authors, carpenters, dancers and nurses were all eyes and ears for the duration of the action-packed event, which was split into three main sessions.

On the day, students got to listen to some inspiring speakers, take in a bunch of great performances, including a showstopper by Triple J Unearthed 2020 winner JK-47, and then check out more than 40 stalls showcasing careers in everything from coffee roasting to yoga therapy. While it might be hard to imagine a four-foot tall primary school student talking to an employer at a careers fair, according to Vanessa the kids didn’t hold back with their questions.

“The kids were absolutely thriving on the buzz of the event, and the feedback from exhibitors was that they were asking some really great questions,” says Vanessa.

They were also incredibly grateful for the experience. According to Vanessa, the event really made an impression on a lot of students.

“It was an amazing day, and the students really appreciated it. I had kids saying ‘that was the best day of my life’ and ‘I learned so much,’” says Vanessa.

Apparently, the only people who weren’t impressed were a few Mullumbimby seniors who were disappointed that they couldn’t join in the fun.

Jokes aside, the Careers Fun Fair at Mullumbimby High School was a great success. Thanks to Vanessa’s inspiration, drive and persuasiveness, more than 500 students from the local area are now feeling inspired about what the future holds, motivated to find career pathways they’re passionate about, and excited about what’s to come when they start high school in a year or two.

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