As we continue to adapt to the "new normal'" it has been clear that many many events will not be happening in the near future. Events like Career Symposiums, Career Fairs and many other events too numerous to mention, just will not happen. As students look at what the next step is for them whether it is work or post-secondary school, the most important thing that needs to happen now is communicating to students events that are starting to pop up online. This post will be a post that I will continue to add events regarding careers, work and other related issues that are impacting our high school students. Starting tomorrow and accessible for a week is the Virtual Manitoba Career Fair, here is the link.
Another event that is taking place is a Virtual Student Expo Event (June 5, 6 and 7) for students across Canada. Over 1,000 colleges and universities from across the country will be represented at the online event to answer questions regarding registration, scholarships, or any other concerns students or parents might have. Here is a link that you can go to:
Both of these events are free and I believe the information that students will be able to glean from each of these events will be very helpful as they make future decisions.
Take a look at this promo video.
Unprecedented has been defined as “never before known or experienced event” and uncharted waters as “a new and unknown area”. This pretty much sums up the past two weeks in the lives of the entire world from economics, to the health care system and of course the education of all students K-12 in many provinces across Canada. Initially, cancellations of many school events to the end of April seemed reasonable, but once the decision to suspend in-class learning became a reality, approximately 18,000 Grade 12 students in Manitoba will not be able to walk across the stage to receive their diploma, a significant milestone that represents a lot of hard work and the beginning of a new journey.
With in-class learning suspended indefinitely, teaching looks very different. I witnessed first-hand teachers embracing the challenge of rethinking how they were going to connect with their students. The insurmountable learning curve has just become a reality for the entire world. No longer is there physical face-to-face interaction but with the advancement of technology, teachers are doing face-to-face with their students through Hangouts, GoMeet, Zoom etc. Doing assignments through Google classroom allows the teachers to measure success.
It has been a huge learning curve for all of us, many are working from home, In the last two weeks, I have learned how to use Google classroom, Go Meet, Hangouts, Zoom, What’s App, voice over for Google slides to create presentations and the list goes on and on. I know first hand the amount of work our teachers do in the classroom and in a short period of time they have moved from their classroom to each individual student’s home via this amazing thing called Technology, emergency remote learning, not online teaching. There is a huge difference. Here is a link to an article I read recently regarding this – a great read for anybody who is connected to the educational system - .Emergency Remote Learning
On Thursday April 2, I had my first experience helping my grandson with his ELA assignment via Hangouts. I had the opportunity to hear him read his novel to me and then discuss and answer questions. I want him to succeed, I want my granddaughter to succeed. I know that their teachers and parents are working hard together to make this new adventure work.
Our role, whether a teacher, parent, grandparent, counsellor, mentor, we all have an opportunity to make an impact on those entrusted to us. Everything has changed, what we had yesterday we may not have tomorrow, but it will be something better if we are willing to embrace these new uncharted waters.
I came across this article that touches upon the very heart of what our high school students and recent graduates are dealing with as they maneuver through the vast opportunities that lie before them, yet for some reason it seems enough is not being done to help students make these very crucial decisions. This four part series that was posted by Global News touches on the following :
Failure to launch kids" Canadian students are not prepared for adulthood
Students are not ready to face the challenges of adulthood due to the lack of knowlege and the skills needed to carry out every day responsibilities (I do not mean attending classes at the post-secondary level - they have attained that skill over the past 12 years of K-12 school). Students can solve a complex math problem but may not know how to set up a bank account or do their tax return. Practical and theoretical knowledge need to be taught hand in hand. The bottom line, students have not figured out what they want to do after high school, we need to provide all the options - college, university, work, gap year for life experience, all of these avenues are viable options.
One size does not fit all, Canadian campuses need better mental health services
Students need to be heard and they need to know that they are not alone, saying you are OK when you really are not needs to be addressed. It is OK to not be OK and be able to say it out loud. Mental illness and suicide rates have increased drastically - this ties in with the demand for more counsellors to be available to help students when they are seeking guidance.
University is not better than college, then why is it getting all the glory
In my years of counselling high school students I give equal weight to both university and college. Colleges provide both hands on training alongside the theory with very positive results. Universities are beginning to understand the benefits of joint co-op programs that can be integrated with degree programs.
Canadian school counsellors are stretched thin, and it's our students that suffer
This final article deals with what school counsellors face on a daily basis within the high school and post-secondary settings. The question that comes to mind is how can we effectively, as counsellors, schools,and parents help the next generations be ready for adulthood? The age old question "What do you want to be when you grow up" needs to be refreshed, or asked in a different way, It is such a broad question with no real guidance for open communication. The answer is usually IDK (I don't know).
Global News (September 17, 24, October 1 and October 8)
Today I spent time putting together a bulletin board that is highlighting the upcoming Career Fair. But this is not just a design that just happens overnight for me, it takes time to plan, to create, to map out and then produce. Throughout the course of the day there was excitement and anticipation and such positive comments of bringing a huge concept into a small space. This is a very prominent bulletin board that will be viewed by all ages Kindergarten to age 99 because of the location. Everybody loves Dr. Seuss. This book touches on more than just the multitude of pathways in life, he talks about the challenges, the ups and downs, the bumps and valleys, the highs and the lows, the choices that we make - some good and some not so good. Everybody can relate no matter the age.
Graduation is a big deal. It is one of those moments when you walk across the stage to receive your diploma and say “I did it.” For some, academics come easy, for others it does not. It is hard work, I know. I was not very academic in high school but if I wanted to graduate I needed to have friends who didn’t judge me, but who were there to help me. And I found out that it takes hard work to graduate. We need those students who strive for the high marks! It took a long time to find out what was the best fit for me, but I am doing a job that I love that allows me to help students explore all the options available to them as their pursue goals after high school. We just don’t have universities, we have colleges and trades schools, and so much more- there is a place for everyone. So I want to say, “Congratulations to all students who received their high school diploma.”
The image is from https://standforthesilent.org
Over the years systems have been put into place to categorize, and define specific demographics, personalities, computer language etc: Area codes, postal codes, entry codes, access codes, security codes, Morse code, code of practice, source codes, Code of Conduct, Code of Practice, Code Blue, Code of Honour, barcodes, and genetic code,
Recently our Grade 1 students received a QR Code card so they could easily sign on to their chrome books rather than having to use a username/password code.
As Career Counsellor I abide to a specific set of rules called “The Code of Ethics.” Within the counselling realm personality tests like Myers Briggs, Holland’s Learning Theory, Kiersey’s Temperaments, all have codes that define different careers and career pathways.
Have you ever heard of NOC codes?
NOC codes (National Occupational Classification) were published in 1993. It is a compilation of occupations that exist in Canada that outlines the tasks, duties, skills and responsibilities, type of education needed, and employment requirements do the jobs within a occupational category.
Example: Career Counsellor
Career Counsellors fall under Occupations in Education, Law and Social, community and government services - a very broad category of jobs.
So if you would like to see if you have the skills and ability to pursue a particular job within an occupational group follow this link and type in a job you might be interested in learning more about:
National Occupational Classification
Recently I was looking for a book that might challenge me to think about how much more effective I could be as a career counsellor to high school students. This book was actually written for people in management positions but the principles laid out can be applied to the role in which I am in on a daily basis. There are four main characters in the book, Sniffy, Scurrie, Hem and Haw. How do we handle change or make decisions? As I reflected on these four characters I could see that students can fit characters like this as they make decisions about careers and life choices.
Sniffy and Scurrie knew what to do when there was change - they accepted it and knew that if they didn’t than they would lose out on the vast opportunities that were waiting for them.
Hem did not like change, was not prepared to explore the possibilities that were out there, spending to much time thinking and analyzing. Instead of looking forward, Hem was still basing decisions on past experiences and out-dated ideas, therefore making in harder for change to occur or even be current in ideas and thoughts.
And finally there is Haw the one who didn’t jump into change quickly but knew that in order to move forward change must take place. Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to step out and try new things, if that doesn’t work try something new and different, get out of your comfort zone. Laugh at your failures.
Not all students can be identified as any one of these four characters but I definitely have counselled Sniffies, Scurries, Hems and Haws. That is my job, to help students recognize that they need to change their thinking in how they approach their career decisions, to not rely on out-dated information from years gone by, but to do thorough research and to keep an open mind of the many many different careers there are today and to look to the future as to what the careers may look like down the road. Times are changing, the world of work is changing and I need to help students see that it is not as dismal as people make it out to be.
Change is inevitable, change is necessay, embrace changes no matter the unsurmountable unknowns, whether you have searched out every career and know exactly what you want to do, how long it will take to do and the end goal being happy in what you do. Remember life will throw curve balls and then some reevaluating may need to take place. Universities change their program requirements, career trends seem to be changing on a regular basis and the security of riding on the coat tails of family businesses or even following in your parents footsteps and doing exactly what they did and your grandparents did etc those careers may not even exist anymore. Then what do you do - embrace change.
AKA "Director of Operations"
Work within a chaotic environment, Excellent in negotiations and interpersonal skills, excellent mobility - work standing up , high level of stamina,
Must have a degree in medicine, finances, and culinary arts
135 hours/week to unlimited, no vacations, workload increases around Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years.
Could you do a job like this?
Recently I came across an idea of creating a Career board that showcases staff members and what type of employment they had during their high school years. What I found fascinating is that the trends of job employment of yesteryear are very similar to the job employment of our young people today..
Usually when you post a bulletin board in a school environment you are displaying the hard work of young and talented students as they progress through the grades. So in a school that starts in Kindergarten to Grade 12 there is lots of diversity in learning. I have actually never seen a bulletin board where students and staff are asked to interact with what is being displayed. But I decided to do something different.
Each silhouette has a job description and students and staff get the opportunity to guess who did what back in the day when our staff were in high school. This particular group being displayed are people within administration, IT. Library and Finance. Over the next few months I will be featuring different divisions within our school community. These staff members worked in grocery stores, babysat, worked for Mom and Dad, cut grass, had a paper route, worked as a waitress, farm hands, gas jockeys, bible camp counselors. So many of the jobs they had back in the day are so relevant today.
Where do young people gain life skills: at home, university, or at a summer job? Besides the skills listed below are there other pertinent skills young people acquire by either working a summer job, volunteering or be involved in community service.
Take a moment to fill out this short survey below:
Feedback Survey – Life Skills
I love working at a Kindergarten - Grade 12 school. I have the opportunity to watch students begin their educational journey and then be a part of the graduation exercises when they embark on a new and exciting journey. A journey into the big unknown in which some will know exactly what to do and some will need a little bit of time. I was walking down the hall the other day and had to stop and take this picture. This is what graduation is all about, dreaming big and having the confidence to be able to take that next step, whether it be post-secondary education, working, travelling, or taking a gap year until you can figure it out. As I have mentioned before, all of these options are OK.
Recently I came across a very well known children's book, written by Dr. Seuss called, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" Some parents buy this book for their graduating children to remind them it is all about choices, some will be good and some will be not so good. Choices may take you down a very successful path or down paths that may be confusing, difficult, and unsuccessful. You need to remember that life if going to be filled with excitement and disappointments. It is how you handle these situations, good or bad, unpleasant or exhilarating, that will teach you the life long lessons that will you will be facing. And remember, you will succeed. Why? Because you just completed 12 years of getting ready for the next journey that you are about to embark on. So seize the moment and don't look back!
What does it mean to graduate? Is it attaining a certain number of credits or spending all your money on that special outfit that will make heads turn? Or maybe it is finally getting that acceptance letter to that university you applied to. For some students it may be the stress of not knowing what the next step is or even how to attain it.
When I graduated from high school, I went to college but I honestly was not ready for that. I did not have a high school counsellor making sure that I had the right courses in my timetable, to keep my options open - a very popular statement that I believe can be overused. Many years ago you needed all 3 sciences and the highest math to get into most programs but that is not so now. Times have changed, there are so many different pathways to enter into a program now.
I remember having a conversation with a parent one day, and it was stated that if a student took Essentials in Math or Consumer Math, the chances of going to university was impossible. In which I replied, every single student has the opportunity to go to university regardless of which Math they take. It is true, there are some programs that you will not get into with Essentials in Math/Consumer Math, but that is OK, take courses in your first year university that are of interest to you, maybe upgrade your Math, and eventually you will be on the right path.
Fast forward now to today, I never thought that I would one day be a career counsellor at a high school, helping students plan out their high school years so that they have equal opportunity to make some very wise decisions about life after graduation. Sometimes students decide to take a “year off” from academics which may bring about major life-changing experiences that might not be found between book covers. Sometimes those “life experiences” open doors that students may not even know were there.
When I think about graduation, I see it from this perspective: counting credits, calculating student averages, planning Convocation, preparing diplomas, helping students with university applications, writing letters and sending transcripts to post-secondary schools. But here is the other perspective: encouraging students to finish up well, always have a open door policy, so if students just need to stop by and be reassured that everything is going to be OK, someone is there to listen.
Today, it is important that students attain a high school diploma regardless of whether they plan to attend a post-secondary school, get a job, or experience life. It is now a necessity. Marks are not the end all be all. When I was in high school I was just an average kid with average marks - and I still went to college. But as the years went by, and I experienced life, I matured and then I went back to school, and it was then that I was able to apply myself and reach my potential. Each one of us have different levels of achievement - there are many high achievers, but if all we had were high achievers within our society there would be an unhealthy imbalance.
In less than two months, students will be walking across the stage to receive their diploma, and I am so honoured to be a part of these graduation ceremonies. Some will go on to university, some to college, some to Bible college, some to Missions, some may work or travel, and some just do not know and you know what, every single one of these choices is OK.
As Career Counselor, it is important to keep with the times and the trends, providing an awareness of a vast array of future career opportunities available to students. What are the hot jobs going to be in the not so distant future and what kind of knowledge and skills will students need to
acquire these futuristic jobs. For example, what skills are needed to
be a robot counsellor, garbage designer, rewilder or a nostalgist.
Or how about a Certified UAV pilot, 3D-printed clothing designer, Augmented reality architect, Quantified self assessment auditor, Smart city urban planner, Smart meter test lab manager, Smart grid solution architect, Big data architect, Alternative currency specialist, or a Ecommerce business manager.
There are some other real cool jobs on this site: Futuristic jobs.
Times are changing and the so-called traditional jobs are evolving into new innovate jobs and we need people who can take the ideas and implement them into our everyday lives. How are our post-secondary schools helping to prepare young people for the future?
I was thinking the other day what have I done to get to where I am today. What kinds of jobs have I had that have molded and shaped me into who I am today. As I study the one Week Project Book, I have found that Sean did learn a lot about himself and some of the skills he picked up along the way.
There seems to be a lot of negative talk about entry level jobs like McDonald’s, Tim’s, Canadian Tire etc. But we have to remember that these jobs expose people of all ages to different skills that can be transferred to a more serious career. Sometimes jobs like this motivate people to want to work harder so they can go to school and eventually be in a career that they are passionate about. I believe that these types of jobs are important for our young people who are just starting out in the world of work and also for those mature people who have had a significant job loss and need something interim until they get that call they have been waiting for - a opportunity to maximize the skills they have developed over the years.
I remember my first waitressing job, in fact the job I had before landing this job was working the line at A & W putting pickles on hamburgers, yes just putting pickles on hamburgers.
I thought to myself, there has to be something better than putting pickles on hamburgers, and one day I was walking down the street and I saw the restaurant, and I knew I needed to apply. During my interview I was told that I was not waitress material, what does that even mean! But I was bound and determined to prove this restaurant owner wrong. And so began my two week trial period that ended up being the best six years of my life.
What skills did I learn, the most important one, communication, along with organization, memorization, working with a team, preparing and presenting food, being on time, making yourself presentable every day, etiquette, listening, being passionate about the job, respect others, multitasking, being a leader, decision making, energetic, being efficient and working quickly.
How many of these skills have I used in other jobs and am continually improving on in my current job today - every single one of them.
Sean Aiken is most known for the One-Week Job Project (52 jobs in one year), a life-changing experience, all because of the all-consuming question: what are you doing after graduating from high school, college, or university?
When Sean embarked on this new adventure his father said, “Sean, it doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure it’s something you are passionate about.” When Sean finished this project he made this statement, “I thought when I found my passion it was the key to happiness. There are many different things that contribute to our happiness at work. The two biggest factors are 1) the people we work with, and 2) the feeling that our work is significant.”
The following is a list of jobs that Sean explored over the course of one year starting at Week 1: Bungee Operator, TV Talk Show Intern, Snowshoe Guide, Volleyball Coach, News Columnist, Florist, Yoga Instructor, Dairy Farmer, Events Team, Marketer, Caregiver, Framer, Researcher, Talent Broker, Courier De Bois, Innkeeper, Race Director/Concert Host, Storekeeper, Brewmaster, Tattoo Parlour Assistant, Cancer Fundraiser, Radio DJ, Hotel Worker, Veterinary Assistant, Film Festival Reporter , Advertising Executive, Bartender, Rock Climbing Instructor , Trade Show Salesman, T-Shirt Entrepreneur, Aquarium Host, Exterminator, Stock Trader, Baker, Fashion Buyer,
Photographer, Pizzamaker, Vintner, Martial Arts Instructor, Chiropractor, Realtor, Hollywood Producer, Motivational Speaker, Preschool Teacher, Astronomer, Park Ranger, Firefighter, Cowboy, Mascot, Association Professional, Air Force Pilot, and Mayor.
What did he learn, what skills was he able to transfer from one job to another. Was there common skills between job changes? What was rewarding, and what was challenging? Did Sean choose one of these jobs to be one of his many lifelong careers?
On the first Wednesday of November all grade 9 students across Canada have this great opportunity to experience “the world of work,” with their parents, a relative/family friend or be hosted in the community.
In years past, most Grade 9 students went to the workplace with a parent. Today, students are choosing to go with someone who is in a career that is of interest to them if given the opportunity. Why the shift? It seems that when asked the question, students do not want to pursue their parents’ careers. They want to explore other options, because today the choices are endless, and the educational system is realizing that more needs to be done to provide students with the knowledge to make wise decisions that will impact their lives.
There are two outcomes that arise from an event like this:
Some students will go away from this day and say yes, this is what I want to do for rest of my life.
Some students will go away from this day and say this is truly not for me so now what?
Both of these outcomes can be addressed within the educational system and by utilizing the expertise of high school career counsellors who can help guide students to post-secondary schools that fit their personalities and learning styles.
A website like “One Stop High School Career Counsellor” brings all types of post-secondary schools to one site, universities, colleges, bible colleges and trades schools. A link to different assessment and personality tests helps students understand themselves better.
Also, by offering courses at the high school level that specifically deal with careers, allows students to explore and hopefully be able to find a career that they are passionate about. Sometimes they need to go outside the educational system and either volunteer or work in an area they are interested in. This would then solidify in their own minds whether this is a good fit for them.
As students continue to seek and explore their options, high school career counsellors need to ensure that students have the right courses in their timetables throughout their high school years so they can enroll in their program of choice at the post-secondary level. High school career counsellors need to keep up-to-date with the continually changes for admissions, and to be current as to all the options available to students.
It is important to remember, there is more than one pathway for students to achieve their goals, their dreams and the ability to make a difference in “the world of work.”
Hazel McCallion has a lot to contribute when it comes to being successful in work and life. It is very clear in her book that she loved her job, the career path that God chose for her to do, which allowed her to have a major impact on the many lives she touched. Hazel worked hard; she was passionate about her work, loved a challenge and did hard things. But there were also times where she failed, but in her failures she was able to overcome and move ahead to make things better. (Hurricane Hazel, Copyright @2014, By Hazel McCallion and Robert Bethlehem, Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, First Edition)
Recently I came across a video called "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance." The speaker Angela Lee Duckworth explains that success does not just come by social intelligence, good looks, physical health and IQ, but grit also plays an important part in being successful. By demonstrating passion and perseverance, having the stamina to set long term goals, sticking with the plan, not just day in and day out or monthly, but years of commitment and working hard makes dreams a reality. C.S Lewis said, "You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream."
It seems that employers today are looking for the same attributes as the employers of the past. Employees who are honest, willing to work hard, committed to being on time, loyal, these were and are the very basic attributes. But "grit: passion and perseverance" seem to be the new front runners. We need both the "intellectual" and the "grit" in the world of work. It is easy to measure intelligence, but how do we build "grit" in the lives of people so that everybody has the opportunity to use their giftedness, being passionate in whatever career they choose.
I have just finished reading "Hurricane Hazel: A Life with a Purpose"- the life of Hazel McCallion. She just turned 93, retired at 92 (wait a minute - not yet she has just been hired on as a special advisor at the University of Toronto @ 94 years of age). There is a new lingo out there redefining this age group, it is not retiring it is reassigning!
Needless to say, she had spent the past 36 years as Mayor of Mississauga, a very successful career . There were many nuggets of career advise throughout this memoir, I would like to focus on one of them.
Why is it a good thing for children to do their homework throughout their Middle and Senior Years? If children do their homework it prepares them better for engaging in conversation the next day, it prepares them for upcoming tests and quizzes, and it gives to them a sense of accomplishment and success.
In her book, Hazel emphasized the importance of doing her homework and how advantageous it was throughout her career. Why? It allowed her to be prepared for questions in which she was able to provide answers to, make wise decisions by providing data to back up any discussion that took place and many of those decisions lead to success in moving forward rather than going backwards. Hazel was able to go to meetings with answers to questions that she had thought about prior to the meetings. By doing her homework she was able to justify why she thought in a certain direction (Hurricane Hazel, Copyright @2014, By Hazel McCallion and Robert Bethlehem, Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, First Edition, page 119-120)
As students move from high school to post-secondary school or start a career right away, as decisions come their way, whether career wise or personal, big or small, homework will always be an important part of their life.
Recently I came across a quote “Godly pleasure isn’t found in doing what you enjoy but in enjoying what you do.” As I reflect on my work experience, there have been many moments of success that can be measured by the number of different skills sets and competencies I have been able to put into my world of work toolbox. Students need to start early in attaining skills and competencies to succeed in the world of work. Some of these skills can be learned at school, home and volunteering in the community, and they will then spill into a career where students enjoy what they are doing.
Skills and education go hand in hand. Education is needed to attain the knowledge required to pursue a career and skills are needed to do the hands on training. Both are essential for success.
As Career Counsellor my goal is to provide up-to-date information regarding post-secondary news and careers to parents and students. Given the multitude of career choices and opportunities for specialization, I recognize the importance in offering students and parents support in this process. It is my intent to continue to provide tools to the students to help them research, investigate and utilize the internet more effectively as they begin to make important decisions about their future goals.
It is June 2017, but an article that I had read in September 2015 seems to be very applicable today. This article written by Barbara Bowes speaks about how the workplace has changed and how technology has changed how we work. The article also focused on the skills needed to succeed in this fast-paced world of work. What kinds of skills are required? There are two types of skills needed to succeed in the work force: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the skills needed to do the job (i.e. computer programming, accounting, nursing, web design, etc.); soft skills are the interactive personable skills (i.e. leadership, communicating, working as a team, problem-solving, etc.).
So how do we prepare young people leaving high school to either work or enter the post-secondary world? Young people need both hard and soft skills. They need to involve themselves in work experiences via extracurricular activities, coaching a sports team, mentoring younger students, going on a Mission trip, running for student council, youth group activities, volunteering or getting a job in a fast-food restaurant where they learn the “skills of life.”
These are all positive ways to help young people be more prepared for life after high school. The end goal is that they are equipped to serve in the local and global community with their giftedness and passion.
Bowes, Barbara, “Strategize to keep pace with the Changing World”, Winnipeg Free Press, Sat. Sept 28, 2015.
Welcome to my career counselling site! I hope that for those of you who are interested in career exploration, job seeking information or continuing on in post-secondary studies, that my site will be of help to you. This is in its beginning stages with the hopes to address seekers across Canada.
My goal is to assist you in finding answers to questions that you have regarding your future plans, whether you are a high school student, or someone who is looking at a career change. This is a one-stop spot for finding information that is of interest to you.
Over the past number of years I have worked with students to help them transition from high school to various post-secondary schools across Canada and south of the border. A job that I take very seriously and love to do!