In a recent podcast posted on contactpoint.ca, Phil Jarvis talks about the disconnect between education and employment, the lack of soft-skills among graduates, and the workforce skills gap. You can listen to the full podcast here.
Some compelling statistics that he stated about students include:
- 1 in 5 Canadian students drop out before graduating high school.
- The majority of students don’t pursue post-secondary education at all.
- 1 in 3 students who do pursue post-secondary education either change programs or drop out by the end of their first year.
Jarvis then stated the following statistics about working adults:
- Under 30% of working adults are fully engaged in their jobs.
- Approximately 15% are fully disengaged.
- The rest are in between, just doing what they have to do to get through the day. Many people are burned out, losing productivity, unhappy, etc.
The Problem? Young People Aren’t Engaging in Career Development
Our young people need guidance to help them think about the type of life they want after school. The education system should be preparing students for a successful transition from school to real life and it needs to be relevant to each individual. Instead, education often focuses on preparing students for the next level of education without connecting it to a career goal.
Now, I’m not here to bash the education system and disregard its importance. Many of our educators pour their heart and soul into teaching valuable lessons and developing strong young people. However, I do believe that we need to make a priority of preparing youth for the transition to the workforce and helping them find career success. As Jarvis mentions in his podcast, “too few students see the relevance of their education to their future career. Education needs to become more project-based and centred around issues that are real and personal.”
Soft-Skills Are The Key!
Jarvis discusses how “schools aren’t producing graduates with the kinds of employability or soft skills that employers need. [Employers] say that communication skills, positive attitude, and a strong work ethic are lacking.” To fix this, both educators and employers need to be working together to help students develop these soft skills and to train workers. As a student, please understand the value of these skills and understand that they can make the difference when developing your career.
Understand Today’s Labour Market Before Looking At Tomorrow!
Many young people (and adults) aren’t even sure of what the good jobs are today, let alone what they are expected to be in the future. Jarvis states:
“We need to connect young people, and adults who are trying to find their way, to real-world work-based learning opportunities. All students need to be encouraged to dream, to learn constantly about the world beyond the school. We need to be connecting students with employers and workers to see what’s happening now, what the work environment is like, what the focus is likely to be on in the future, what technologies they see. Then they can start to make decisions based on living labour market information.”
Students need to be connected with today’s reality to get a sense of what the future might bring.
The Value of Career Professionals
Jarvis ends his podcasts with some great insight on the value of career development practitioners. He says that “career development practitioners are the guides to help navigate the chaos of the working world. We have an amazing network of guides who understand the complexity of the working world, who understand the complexity of individuals and their dreams, aspirations, and talents. Canadians need to seek out these guides, without seeing it as admitting a failure or problem. Seeking help is the smartest thing anybody can do. We’re authoring the rest of our lives every day, and if we don’t make good decisions, we’re wasting opportunities for a better life, day by day”.