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Career Expo Helps Students And Employers Connect

UWC Career Xpo brings students and future employers together

In its fifteenth year the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) three-day Careers Expo for 2017 gave post- and undergraduate students the opportunity to interact with recruiters and potential employers, and help figure out their career after graduation.

The Careers Expo took place on Tuesday, 9 May (for Law and B.Com Law), Wednesday, 10 May (Economic and Management Sciences, Natural Sciences, Law and Arts) and Thursday, 11 May (Accounting, Computer Science and Information Systems).

The Auditor General of South Africa, Human Sciences Research Council and the Departments of Trade and Industry, Mineral Resources and Environmental Affairs joined companies like Allan Gray, Sanlam, Old Mutual, Truworths, PWC, Shoprite, Standard Bank, Unilever, iThemba LABS and many more at stalls in the University’s Main Hall.

In the early days of the expo (early 2000s) the Office for Student Development (OSD), who organise the Xpo, struggled to get recruiters to come to UWC - but things have changed since then.

“In the beginning the Careers Xpo was an annual event that only happened over one day,” said OSD Manager, Winston Middleton. “We have, over the years, managed to diversify and include the students of at least four of our faculties thus growing the participation rate tremendously.”

“The Xpo was inspired by the lack of information by many graduates of the career opportunities out there in the public and private sectors,” he noted. “The day is student centred, but it is also an opportunity for the companies to market their graduate opportunities and create brand awareness.”

The Xpo is about creating awareness amongst the students, added Nina Barnes, Staff and Organisational Development Manager at UWC’s Human Resources Office – and, in particular, about the careers available at UWC, specifically in academia.

“Today is about explaining the world of work to students, and providing them with the necessary information and advice from a Human Resources point of view on the dos and don'ts and things that employers usually look for in a candidate.”

At the same time, the Xpo served a larger purpose.

“We are also aware of the national crisis in academia; there are many academics retiring, and we are not seeing enough young academics filling up this particular space,” Barnes said. “Our mission today is to inspire students to consider careers in academia and provide information on how rewarding it is.”