LHSC career fair enables Indigenous youth to explore stepping stones to their future

Indigenous students explore the Thames Valley Children's Centre display at the Youth Indigenous Career Fair on February 13, 2024

March 22, 2024


On February 13, 2024, Indigenous students from five local high schools were invited to attend the first-ever Youth Indigenous Career Fair, held at Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). The idea for the event emerged during a meeting between the London District Chiefs Council, Southern First Nations Secretariat, and members of LHSC’s Executive team, to give Indigenous youth the opportunity to explore the many career options available in the field of health care before they need to make choices about post-secondary education.

Community partnerships on display 

In the morning, more than 50 students and educators from local high schools arrived on buses. The day began with traditional singing, drumming and dancing of the Eagle Flight Singers and an inspiring creation story from Elder Myeengun Henry, who encouraged the students to be curious and explore each of the many career pathways open to them. Rumina Morris, Executive Director of the Office of Inclusion and Social Accountability, then delivered a land acknowledgment, followed by opening remarks by Nash Syed, President of Children’s Hospital.  

This initiative would not have been possible without the support of community partners and members of Team LHSC, who volunteered to share their experiences and career journeys with the students. For the afternoon portion of the career fair, the Children’s Hospital atrium was filled with 38 informative displays where LHSC departments and community organizations responded to questions and engaged with students. Many displays had interactive elements where students could try activities or play games.

“We are thankful to the many individuals who volunteered their time to be a part of this initiative,” says Nicole Yawney, Youth Indigenous Wellness Consultant at Children’s Hospital, who organized the event alongside Carol Fortnum, Education Liaison, Children’s Hospital at LHSC. “Through their support, Indigenous youth from local communities were able to see the wide variety of career options available to them in health care and envision themselves as members of Team LHSC or working with one of our community partners. We hope this event will encourage them to consider following the stepping stones to a career in the health sector.”

Planning for the future 

Participants had an opportunity to provide feedback when the career fair portion was over, with many indicating they would like to see more events like it in the future.

“Next year, we plan to make this event bigger and better,” notes Nash Syed, President of Children’s Hospital. “We have a great need for more people to follow the various paths that lead to careers in health care. By encouraging Indigenous youth to explore those avenues, we have an excellent opportunity to reach individuals who may not have considered it as an option. It also gives us an opportunity to make Team LHSC stronger and more diverse by promoting these careers to Indigenous individuals. We are striving to create a sense of belonging for all.”

The success of the first-ever Youth Indigenous Career Fair will not be measured by immediate recruitment numbers, but the hope is that the impact of last month’s event will create a ripple-effect leading to better representation of Indigenous communities in the population of the health-care workers of tomorrow.