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Where do educators fit into the career success formula?

As they’re planning for their future, we often advise young women to follow their passion. But what if they haven’t discovered it yet? At an already-confusing time of their lives, we’ve now added even more pressure of making some daunting decisions for their future.

Starting the career planning process doesn’t have to be a chore, though, and high schools offer many resources that can help students make informed decisions without the pressure. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Talk to a teacher. It may be a teacher who can identify what your daughter has an aptitude for. If you (or she) get that feedback, take it seriously, and look for programs where your daughter can explore it further, she can end up in a career that’s well-suited for her.
  • Talk to guidance. Encourage your daughter to visit her guidance office to see what tools and resources are available. Speak with a guidance counsellor and ask about community initiatives that may help your daughter explore and discover new career pathways. Activities like FIRST RoboticsSkills Ontario, and March Break and summer camps are great avenues to help guide her to find her passion.
  • Explore co-op and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). Co-op placements are an excellent way for a young woman to learn new skills and experience what different careers involve. OYAP is an enhanced co-op program where students can get credit for working on a skilled trade apprenticeship. Some OYAP placements even pay their students.
  • Sign up for a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM). Your daughter can bundle field-specific courses and workshops together to graduate with a special seal on her diploma. Specializing may help your daughter find and refine (or even change) her career goals.

Educators can play a significant part in career planning. Before you pay for a post-secondary program that your daughter may not love, make time to discuss how your school can help your family make more informed choices about the future. 

Solange Saraiva (left), Experiential Learning Officer, Waterloo Catholic District School Board talks to a student about opportunities in OYAP and SHSM at Build a Dream Kitchener-Waterloo on November 14, 2019. Photo by Sanja Tabor (Build a Dream).
A student learns about creating and editing digital objects in 3D space and preparing objects for printing at a Build a Dream 3D Modelling Workshop held at the University of Windsor in July 2019. Photo by Elisa Quaggiotto (Build a Dream).

This article originally appeared in the 2019 issue of Media Planet’s Women in Trades print and online campaign.

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