In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, a student’s career choice can seem endless, making the task a daunting and sometimes confusing one for students. This is especially true in grade 9, where students are required to plan their academic course work and choose their pre-requisite classes, choices that can greatly influence their future educational and career pathways.
Making that decision a little easier was one of the ideas behind Connexion’s Adventures in Health Careers, a half-day event that connected over 150 grade 9 students with local health professionals. This was also an opportunity to inform students about careers in the health and social services sector in order to encourage more students to study in this field to increase the number of bilingual health and social services professionals working in our region.
In a series of workshops and a Q&A Panel with health professionals, students from Symmes-D’Arcy McGee High School had the opportunity to meet and speak to various health professionals, who were on-hand to answer questions about their jobs and the early stages of their career paths.
The workshops gave students the opportunity to explore careers in social services where speakers highlighted the fields of Psychology, Social Work and Special Care Counselling and pathways to those professions:
- Josette Kodsi, Social Worker at the Western Quebec School Board (WQSB), explored careers in social services touching on Psychology, Social Work and other social service careers.
- Patricia Arnold, Guidance Counselor from Heritage College, spoke about the new Special Care Counselling program Heritage will be offering in 2017-2018. She also stressed to students the importance of keeping their options open by taking maths and sciences in high school if they later decided to pursue a career in the a health-related field.
- Erika and Shea, from YouthNet, presented on mental health and ways of encouraging mental wellness with a focus on stigma, ways to foster mental wellness, as well as the self-care alphabet race.
The Q&A Panel included six health and social services professionals moderated by Gail Hawley-McDonald, who works for the McGill Training and Retention Project, and included:
- Amanda Amyotte, Registered Nurse and graduate of the Heritage Nursing Program, who now works at Shawville Hospital.
- Agathe Faubert, Licenced Practical Nurse (LPN) and graduate of the Health Assistance and Nursing Program at the Western Quebec Career Centre (WQCC), now working at la Maison Mathieu-Froment-Savoie.
- Christine Kelm Speech Pathologist in Gatineau at the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO).
- Linda Sullivan, Social Worker in des Collines at CISSSO.
- Emmanuelle Britton, Family Physician practicing in des Collines
- Eva Applebaum, Physiotherapist at Neurogym Rehabilitation.
Connexions would like to thank the health professionals for coming out to speak to our high school students. A thank you to Gail for moderating the Panel and for Franny and Holly, guidance counsellors at Symmes-D’Arcy for helping us organize this event.
This initiative was funded by McGill University through a financial contribution from Health Canada.