Prior to using vFairs, Skills Manitoba used to organize in-person events where skilled workers offered classes, demonstrations, and speaker sessions to students. However, with the pandemic, these events had to be halted. The organization faced the challenge of reorienting its event plans to a virtual platform, particularly in terms of providing hands-on experiences for the participants.
To address the challenges, Skills Manitoba leveraged the features provided by vFairs for the Virtual Young Women’s Conference. The event aimed to introduce young women to mentors through panel discussions and guest speaker sessions, create face-to-face interactions between mentors and students to explore skilled trade possibilities, and showcase successful skilled traders through demonstrations by industry experts.
While the hands-on element had to be sacrificed due to the virtual format, the organization focused on networking, recruitment, and communication opportunities.
Skills Manitoba incorporated an interactive scavenger hunt into the conference to engage participants throughout the day. Students had to find various elements scattered across the event, adding a fun and interactive element to the virtual experience.
The conference featured exhibitor booths representing different industries and career prospects. Students had the opportunity to interact with industry experts, ask questions, and gain knowledge about their areas of interest. These booths also served as effective marketing platforms for exhibitors.
Numerous webinars, including speaker sessions, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and live skill demonstrations, were broadcasted live online. Students could actively participate and engage with the content, further enhancing their learning experience.
The event facilitated extensive interaction through the chat feature, allowing hosts, exhibitors, and students to engage in discussions on various topics related to skilled trades and technology careers. This interactive element fostered better interpersonal connections and sustained interest throughout the conference.
The Skills Manitoba Virtual Young Women’s Conference received positive feedback from participants and industry professionals. Maria Pacella, the Executive Director of Skills Manitoba, praised the visual aesthetics of the vFairs platform, highlighting its versatility and the ability to engage attendees through panel discussions. The event reached a broader audience than traditional in-person events, with over 1,600 students from urban and rural areas registering for the conference.
The successful execution of the Virtual Young Women’s Conference demonstrated the potential and value of virtual events for Skills Manitoba. The organization realized that virtual platforms could reach a larger number of people and enable them to participate and learn from industry experts, leading to increased awareness and interest in skilled trades and technology careers.