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Career exploration: Helping students see their futuresHeather

Career exploration: Helping students see their futuresIt’s no wonder there’s so much buzz about career exploration…!

Today’s students are expected to have 15-17 different jobs over the course of their work life. Exploring careers can also make classes seem more relevant to their future and challenge students to take classes they otherwise may not. Furthermore, 90% of the fastest-growing careers are expected to require education and training beyond a high school diploma.

If you’re looking for some clever ideas to help your students explore their futures, we’ve pulled together a few ideas designed to spark career talk among your pupils.

Elementary/Junior High Students
It’s never too early to start kids thinking about careers. If you work with the K-9 crowd, you might already invite parents and volunteers to come into class to talk with your students about their careers.

Looking for a multi-media supplement or option? The Government of Canada’s Youth website showcases dozens of career options at https://www.youth.gc.ca. The site also contains links to career quizzes and tips on managing money. Give kids logo’d gear that will remind them of the career they studied. For example, a Safety Key-Light Whistles will remind students of law enforcement careers, while a first aid kits complements health career exploration.

Take a page from Social Studies teacher Tamara Willis, who creatively turned her classroom into a ‘business’ for six weeks. Students applied for jobs, ‘hired’ other students and conducted meetings to address rules and business issues. Student ‘paycheques’ reflected tax collections and performance pay.

High School/College Students
In one district, school and business leaders collaborate to offer a wide range of opportunities for students to get up-close-and-personal with potential careers. Practice job interviews, resume reviews, business ethics discussions, site tours, subject and language tutoring and electronic mentoring are just a few examples. At the annual career fair for 8th-10th grade students, 150 businesses and organizations talk with 2,500 students about career opportunities. Promote the career fair with business card magnets. Give attendees notebooks to jot down career ideas and business contacts. Can’t organize a career fair? Invite students to attend a local job fair or business expo. These are great opportunities to meet people from a variety of industries.

For more in-depth discussions, invite business people to in-class roundtable discussions that help students understand:

  • the skills they’ll need to land their choice job
  • how the interviewing process works
  • wage/salary and lifestyle comparisons – so students consider whether their lifestyle and career choices match up
  • internship opportunities

Giving students a glimpse at what they’ll need to do to attain the career of their choice can both motivate and engage them – a benefit to students AND educators!

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