When it comes to our kids, we would do just about anything for them. We want them to succeed at everything. We want them to be active, contributing members of society. We teach our kids the best we can and send them to school to learn about the world around. Herein lay the problem. School systems educate our kids, but don’t prepare them for careers.
Our education system is not aligned with our economy. Canadian youth are facing high unemployment and higher education is not filling the skills gap in the business world; it is cranking out graduates with little knowledge of the world of work.
Investing four years into a post-secondary education only to come out and do the same job you could have done straight out of high school can frustrate any eager new graduate. Universities and colleges in Canada are continuing to enroll students into programs that supply more graduates than business demands. As a result, Canada’s changing workforce has left university and college graduates on the sidelines of its economy with unemployment rates as high at 14.8% in the last 12 months.
“At present, the development of the Canadian workforce through post-secondary education…is not sensitive to the job market. It is driven by parental, student and governmental priorities with relatively little input or direction from the Canadian business community.” – Ken Coates, CareerReady: Towards a National Strategy for the Mobilization of Canadian potential. Taking Action for Canada Jobs and skills for the 21st Century
We send our kids to school in the hopes that they will find a good job and live fulfilling lives. However, we miss a vital step in their education when we assume someone is giving them insight into how to prepare for a successful career. Most students require basic training in career planning and career development, but miss out in favour of more traditional academic pursuits.
Part of our role as parents is to prepare our kids for the world of work. Sadly, we assume sending our kids to college or university will solidify the skills they need to be successful in their careers. As a parent, what can you do?
1. Teach them about the world of work and their role in it.
If your kids don’t understand the basics of the economy, money and business, they may not understand their role in the business world.
This week I had a wonderfully supportive mom inquire about hiring me to help her son in his job search. About to graduate, he is an A-student, well rounded, and well connected in his industry. The issue: he does not have the skills to go find meaningful employment. He has spent the last five years working hard to complete his Bachelor of Arts, then Masters Degree. Little to no advice has been given about exploring the world of work and learning about companies that might hire graduates like him. He has not learned how to approach employers and make meaningful connections that might lead to a job offer.
What this graduate needs is an understanding of the local labour market, a professional resume and cover letter, along with the skills to promote himself as an ideal candidate to potential employers.
2. Invest in Career Development
According to Linkedin Talent Solutions’ 2015 Talent Trend Report, “the typical career path is more fluid than ever before.” Teaching kids the basic elements of career development will establish a foundation from which they will navigate all future career decisions.
Things have changed since we were students. The advice I got from my parents was to get a degree then get a job. It was as if it were a foregone conclusion. However the two are not connected and haven’t been in quite some time. Our kids need to realize that competition for good jobs is the norm. Good grades will only take them so far; they need to take themselves the rest of the way. Career development gives them the tools to do the rest.
If you’re like most parents, you want your kids to have a great life; maybe you’ve even helped them financially by contributing to their academic pursuits. Don’t stop there. Knowing how to do a job is one thing, knowing how to get a job is something different altogether. A solid foundation of career advice will establish the trajectory of your son or daughter’s career right from the start.
Related Categories: Career Clarity, Client Questions & Answers, Job Search, Students & Parents
About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.