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Downturn doesn't hurt university job fair

A record number of employers braved the economic storm to recruituniversity students at a summer job fair in Halifax yesterday.

A record number of employers braved the economic storm to recruit university students at a summer job fair in Halifax yesterday.

The annual fair, put on by Mount Saint Vincent University, Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University, drew 60 exhibitors, up from an average of 40.

“This fair shows there are still opportunities for students. It’s really promising — it’s our largest event,” said MSVU’s Christine Frigault. She added that about 65 per cent of the employers are Nova Scotian.

“It echoes what happened with our September career fair, which was the biggest ever in the midst of what was to come with the economy,” Frigault said. “Retirements still come up and businesses still need to fill those positions.”

The Cunard Centre event is aimed at university students looking for summer work or careers. The exhibits offered work ranging from counsellors at summer camps to bank workers, stock traders and representatives from all three levels of government. At one section of the fair, the Canadian military sought new recruits alongside weapons maker Lockheed Martin and CSIS, the spy agency.

“We’re recruiting new and emerging graduates. We have a facility being constructed in Dartmouth,” said Lockheed’s Michael Barton. The company has 40 or 50 openings and is looking for engineers in particular.

The Lockheed Martin exhibit drew a small group of protesters outside the centre. Barton said the company was “comfortable” with that. “If they want to come talk to us, we’re here all day.”

Hundreds of students milled about the event talking to potential employers.

Ruari Murphy, a psychology graduate from Saint Mary’s University, said, “I’m hoping to get a few more bucks in my pocket this summer and then think about going back to do my master’s.”

 
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