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HAP: The Perfect Career Exploration Opportunity for All High School Students


Students at the No Limits Conference hosted by CPA Ontario in Ottawa

 

In the 21st century, the university and job application process are becoming more and more competitive. To stand out, high school students are expected to demonstrate strong leadership skills, critical thinking skills, and community involvement. But how? As a student myself, I’ve realized how difficult it has been to find extracurricular opportunities during quarantine. That’s why I was ecstatic when I found out about CPA Ontario’s High School Ambassador Program (HAP).


What is HAP?

HAP is a FREE career exploration program where high school students can develop workplace skills. By joining HAP, you can build your resume, develop marketable soft skills, and network with business professionals. The program is not only great for students who are interested in business, but also for students interested in tech, not-for-profit, public practice, healthcare, and more. It’s simply a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get a head start and showcase their career readiness.


What does HAP Include?

The program offers numerous opportunities, including contests, conferences, and advice for academic/career success. Some of these opportunities include:


  1. High School Hub: a centre for career and academic advice. All articles are curated by business professionals, for high school students like you.

  2. CPA Showcase: a competition where you can create a 60-second video on a theme, like Workplace Diversity, for a chance to win up to $750 for yourself and $250 for your school.

  3. Write To Ignite: a competition where you write a 500-word essay expressing your opinions on themes like Online Learning for a chance to win up to $500 for yourself and $100 for your school.

  4. No Limits: a conference where students can explore the limitless career pathways in business and develop key soft skills through interactive workshops, speakers, and networking sessions.

  5. Partnerships: get involved with CPA Ontario through other business competitions and opportunities, including DECA, FBLA, Target Alpha, and Illuminate Universe.


Example of an article from the High School Hub about the Start-up Mindset


My HAP Experience

Personally, I’ve learned so much since joining HAP last year. The program has been really insightful as I tried to narrow down which careers I would be interested in. I was originally attracted to the program because I was interested in exploring business careers. But after joining, I learned that HAP isn’t just for prospective business students. I’ve been able to meet and hear from CPAs working in all industries, like Brian Kerr, the CEO of Kawartha Dairy. The program also taught me so many skills that are transferable in all careers, like networking, personal branding, standing out during interviews, and even life skills such as personal finance. In addition to teaching me these skills, HAP has helped me feel more confident making decisions about my career and what I want to study in my post-secondary education. As a plus, HAP introduced me to many like-minded high school students who I eventually befriended and regularly speak with.


Free, Virtual, and Personalized

The best part about all of these opportunities? They’re free! HAP is offered at no cost to students, with no need for you to purchase tickets. HAP is accessible to any student, regardless of your financial situation.


HAP also offers many virtual events, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your home simply by logging into online platforms like GoToWebinar. For example, both CPA Showcase and Write To Ignite accept online submissions. The No Limits Conference has also been hosted online, although it is no less engaging and interactive than an in-person event!


Last but not least, you can choose the HAP events you want to attend and select the opportunities that best fit your career goals. Attendance at HAP’s events is not mandatory for membership status, although I highly recommend you take advantage of everything that HAP offers.


How Can You Register?

To sign up for the program, simply fill in your personal and contact information here: myportal.cpaontario.ca/CPAO_SelfRegister. The registration process is super easy, with no bulky essay questions required. You’ll be able to log in about a day after you sign up, and there is no deadline for the process. If you have any difficulties during the process, you can always contact getinvolved@cpaontario.ca.


Now, what are you waiting for? Sign up for this awesome opportunity now, and learn about all of the career possibilities open to you!


 

About CPA Ontario: CPA Ontario, or the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, is a regulatory organization for the accounting profession. The organization provides training and enforces accounting standards in the profession. CPA Ontario is known for the CPA designation that it offers, which is a qualification that you can obtain during and after after your post-secondary studies as a proof of your accounting skills to prospective employers. The CPA designation is recognized in industries beyond accounting, in countries beyond Canada.


About the author: Hi there! I’m Sherry, an incoming grade 12 student at Unionville High School. In the future, I’m interested in pursuing equity research. I also like learning about biotech, especially epigenetics. I’m always looking for more opportunities to develop skills in business, and originally found out about HAP through participating in FBLA Canada. I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherry-hu-069542195/.