Dark clouds have gathered over the provincial economy, and the job outlook for 2017 looks uncertain, to say the least.
While employment across Canada has increased, according to Statistics Canada, in Alberta the scene looks troubling.
In July, TD Economics reports predicted a “three per cent drop in employment from its 2015 peak to the end of this year” in this province.
That fact hasn’t dissuaded SAIT students, however.
Some approaching graduation next spring say they feel confident because of the training they’re receiving that they will find a job in their industry when they graduate.
“I feel very confident to find a job since everything they [instructors] teach us is industry-related,” Mattheiu Ignacio, a first-year student in the civil engineering technology program, said in late November.
Folusho Odufeso, a third-year student taking the bachelor of science construction project management program, also is staying positive.
“I feel like I’ll be able to find a job right away. There’s a huge industry for it, so looks like a bright future is ahead,” he said.
SAIT conducts a graduate employment survey each year and publishes the results per school on its website.
In spite of the recession in Alberta, the graduate employment numbers for 2015 indicate that most graduates find jobs in their industry.
For example, 538 SAIT graduates from the School of Business responded the survey and 343 of them were employed full time in their field.
In the case of the MacPhail School of Energy, 576 responded to the survey, and 231 were already working in their industry full time as well.
The School of Hospitality and Tourism reported that 203 graduates responded the survey and 165 of them were working full time in a training-related job.
The bulk of training-related employment, 72 per cent, takes place in Calgary with 19 per cent within Alberta and nine per cent outside the province.
Overall, 70 per cent of SAIT graduates who were working were employed in a training-related field, and 30 per cent were in a non-training-related job. The employment pattern indicated that 86 per cent of graduates were employed while 14 per cent were not.
SAIT Student Employment and Career Centre offers students in any year workshops and services that may help them find a summer job, a practicum, a part-time job or a full-time position once they finish their studies.
The workshops involve résumé and cover letter writing, networking, job hunting in the digital age, as well as setting up a profile on LinkedIn and on SAIT’s job board, Career Connector.
Kifah Ramahi has been working at SAIT for 10 years as a student employment career specialist and believes that the institute’s hands-on programs help graduates succeed to find a job even when there’s a recession.
“We have a tough economy right now, but employers are still hiring,” he said.
The career centre encourages students to talk to one of its specialists in person or by email to connect and get ready to find opportunities.
According to Ramahi, students who have a résumé prepared from their first semester in school can “tweak it as much as they can” for a summer position or a part-time job.
Ramahi is in contact with employers “all the time” and says they are interested in “fresh graduates” because of their “excellent education.”
Ramahi recommends students work on developing soft skills such as leadership and teamwork to show potential employers that they’re active in and out of the classroom.
“At the end of the day, they all [employers] agree on one thing: ‘Don’t worry about experience. We’re looking for the personality of those students.’”