Though he's a decade removed from high school, Ray Seaver is right on schedule to pursue the career of his dreams.
Seaver took an important step toward fulfilling that dream on Wednesday at the 2014 Rotary Career Symposium at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.
While about 10,000 students from 131 Manitoba schools were also investigating their futures at the event, Seaver was among a number of adults checking out the possibilities for the next phases of their lives.
"I said I'd give myself 10 years and now, here I am," said Seaver, 28, who has five children. "Now that everything is straightening out in my life, I am going to chase my dream that I wanted since high school, which is to become a police officer."
At the Rotary Career Symposium, there were over 200 exhibits, 30 speaker sessions and a "career café" for people to search for jobs and get advice about resumés and interviews.
Seaver, who now works for MTS, has also worked as an auto mechanic and a tow truck driver. He said when he looked into becoming a police officer right out of high school, a recruiting officer suggested he get some life experience.
"I've been working for 10 years, married, divorced, have kids, I've seen all kinds of things, so hopefully I have enough by now," he said, with a laugh.
Winnipeg police and the RCMP had booths at the event.
"I've talked to a few police officers already, they were very helpful, and applications start Monday," he said. "There's nothing better than interacting face to face with somebody so you can ask specific questions."
Archana Singh said she is completing her English as a second language studies at Winnipeg Technical College so she's planning for what comes next.
"Our teacher (at WTC) said this is a good place to explore ideas and see if there is anything that we would like or areas that would interest us," said Singh, giving her age as between 40 and 43. "I've worked as a cashier at Sears and the Bay so once I finish my English eighth level, I would like to work in a bank."
In addition to English, Singh said she also speaks or understands three other languages, including Hindi, Punjabi and Nepali.
"Sometimes that can help because people come into the bank who speak other languages," she said.
Ret Basnet, 47, moved to Winnipeg 21/2 years ago from a refugee camp in Nepal after living most of his life in Bhutan. He's taking English as a second language and other courses at the Edge Skills Centre.
"I would like to work as a health-care aide; I like taking care of people," said Basnet, who was a typing instructor in Bhutan. "I wanted to change my career. Here, it's good, I talked to some counsellors from Robertson College, Red River and Herzing College."
Sandy Visentin, the Rotary Career Symposium chairwoman, said the event features valuable resources in people to talk to and interactive displays.
"There's everything under one roof. Because we're so big, it doesn't matter what you want to find out about or if you want to find out about lots of things, it's all here and there's the added value of being able to network with people," Visentin said.
"There's students here looking into 'What do I want to be when I grow up' but we're also seeing, especially in the evenings, people that have been laid off or looking for a career change or the moms with babies in strollers who are on maternity leave and looking for ideas before they go back to work."