Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor,
Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief
In days gone by, children recited this nursery rhyme when musing about their futures. That’s because, whether rich or poor, their options were limited. Class, ethnicity and gender defined their futures.
In Canada, those barriers have long been shattered and today’s children have free access to a first-class public education system and an abundance of possibilities. In addition, the digital revolution continues to create new specializations and opportunities. Our young people can now choose careers that didn’t exist 20 or even 10 years ago.
Although the wealth of career options now available seems wonderful to adults, it can be overwhelming for many young people. This is why career exploration is becoming an increasingly important element in school curricula. Even as early as Grade 9, students need to begin seriously considering career options so they know what skills and abilities they’ll need to acquire in high school in order to gain entry into the relevant post-secondary programs. As a result, they need opportunities to explore as many careers and industries as possible.
At The Learning Partnership, we’ve seen the growing popularity of career exploration initiatives, including our own Ultimate Dream Job Contest and Take Our Kids to Work™ programs. Take Our Kids to Work began as just a one-day event in 1994 for students in the Greater Toronto Area. Today it is a three-month program and a quarter of a million Grade 9 students from every province and territory take part in Take Our Kids to Work day every November. On this day, they spend time at the workplace of a parent, relative or family friend and get, in many cases, their first look at the world of work and their first chance to talk with a wide range of professionals.
Our children will, as the most literate, technologically adept, and knowledgeable generation to date, give our economy a much needed edge in the future, allowing us to compete successfully with such emerging economic giants as China and India. They’ll do this thanks to being educated in one of the top 10 public education systems in the world and to the many career exploration opportunities educators and companies are providing.
How can we ensure that today’s students have more opportunities to learn about future career options? What is your company or organization doing to create awareness among students about the career options available to them?
If your organization hasn’t participated in Take Our Kids to Work, click here to
learn more about it.