THOUSANDS of people from across the Wimmera flocked to the Wimmera Events Centre at Longerenong to explore a range of career and employment opportunities.
The annual Western Victorian Careers Expo was held on Tuesday. It provided a one stop shop of vocational information to prospective students and people looking for a career change.
There were about 90 stalls at the expo, including stalls from more than 20 Victorian and South Australian universities.
The theme of the expo this year was the arts, focusing on careers in performing and creative arts.
Project officer Annie Mintern said there had been increase in students choosing more technology-based education pathways.
"Gaming and information technology has been a major trend. It's lot more interesting and interactive to young people," she said.
Ms Mintern said the highlight of the expo was the stand-up comedy performance by Melbourne comedian Tom Ballard.
She said Wimmera students mainly moved to cities such as Adelaide and Melbourne for higher education studies.
"We do a feedback survey and it is usually around 90 per cent of students who are planning to go universities in cities," she said.
She said schools sent their younger students to attend the expo to understand the career opportunities from an early stage.
"A lot of schools bring their year 9 students. They will come for three or four years in a row. Each year they might learn something different. It's really the only information they get, to make the decision about what they want to do," she said.
Victoria University future student adviser Chris Skevo said he was surprised by the number of students enquiring about engineering.
"Students enquired about different pathways to get into mechanical engineering. A few of them also asked about health courses such as pharmaceutical science, nursing and biomedical science," he said.
Mr Skevo said aside from career pathways, students mainly enquired about accommodation arrangements at universities.
Horsham College year 12 student Noah Campbell said he wanted to pursue electrical engineering, while year 11 student Hamish Sellens said he would pursue plumbing.
Both said they wanted to move to Melbourne for their higher education studies.
Noah said his peers wanted to pursue more hands-on careers in the future.
"A lot of them are doing VCAL and trying to do a trade occupation like construction work," he said.
St Arnaud Secondary College year 10 student Tessa Young said she wanted to pursue a career in childcare.
"A lot of the universities (at the expo) don't offer childcare though. It is mainly all TAFE courses," she said.
Tessa said she would like to move to Melbourne or Sydney to start her career.
"The stalls have been fairly good. I wanted to look at other courses I could do and what type of path I could take for those courses," she said.
The event has been held annually since 1986. About 2000 people attend the expo each year.
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