An arts degree: What on earth are you going to do with that?
It’s a line we hear a lot as students at a liberal arts school. But the worst part of being asked this question is not knowing the answer.
“A lot of the time students have a hard time making the link between what they’ve learned in the classroom and what jobs are out there,” said Anne Soucy, director of the University of New Brunswick’s student employment service.
That’s why every year UNB’s student employment service collaborates with St. Thomas University to bring prospective employers to Fredericton to speak to students.
There are several career fairs throughout the year but the largest one is on Sept. 29.
This fair will take place at the Aitken University Centre and host up to 76 employers from across Canada, including several offering opportunities to students studying in the arts.
“What students don’t realize is that all of the major employers come in the fall. We co-ordinate this fair with other schools so that the employers can come,” said Soucy.
This month’s fair is not only for graduating students looking for work in the fall. It’s for students in all years of university. Many companies offer summer work programs that students won’t hear about unless they go to the fair, Soucy said.
“We try to make it so that this isn’t a just-in-time service,” she said. “If you wait until January or February of your graduating year to start looking, you may have missed the boat.”
According to Statistics Canada, the average unemployment rate for students aged 15 to 24 this past summer was 17.2 per cent. This is an increase from the average student unemployment rates between the summers of 2006 and 2008, when the rate hovered below 14 per cent.
Students planning to go to the main fair on Sept. 29 are encouraged to come with resumés and be dressed in business attire.
They’re also encouraged to pre-register at the student services website at www.unb.ca/fredericton/studentservices/employment. The website also offers help designing a professional resumé and other job search tools.