The first step is initiating the conversation with your youth. The Getting Started section contains foundational information for parents, such as the career planning cycle, labour market information, as well as tips and strategies for communicating with your youth.
Key things to keep in mind
Canadian career planning experts have developed the following “High Five” messages to keep in mind when exploring career/life paths with your youth.
Change is constant.
Change is a constant force in both life and work, more so when opportunities arise. Flexibility, versatility and adaptability are important to career-building success.
Learning is continuous.
Learning is a continuous life process. Learning, skills development, and work are intertwined activities you will do throughout your cycle of career-building experiences.
Focus on the journey.
Life is a journey of experiences, and each destination is only the steppingstone to the next. Career building requires attention to both the goals you set and to everything that occurs as you travel toward your goals.
Follow your heart.
You always do your best when doing what you love or have a passion for. Go after your dreams and focus on what's important to you and what's motivating.
Access your allies/Be an ally.
You are surrounded by people who can help you make career decisions and travel the road of life.
Family, friends, neighbours, co-workers and teachers are all potential allies and mentors. Build networks of allies and be a good ally too.
Possible fears and challenges
Choices available to youth today have increased dramatically. The amount of information youth have to sort through can be overwhelming. Some of their fears and challenges may include:
- What if I’m not successful at achieving my dream?
- What if I make the wrong choice now? How will it affect me later?
- How do I talk to my parent about my education plans?
- I don’t know what I want to do as a career yet, so how can I plan?
- Everyone else seems to have a plan but I don’t.
How can you help them manage these thoughts effectively? Listen to them, acknowledge their fears, and offer encouragement. Remind them it’s okay to make mistakes or change their career plan; that’s where they can learn and grow.
Start the conversation
Listen to what your youth wants, rather than imposing on them what you think they should want.
How to get the conversation started:
- Bring discussions to the kitchen table. Talk about their likes and dislikes, favourite subjects, values, talents, and abilities.
- While headed somewhere in the car or bus with your youth, use the time to ask about their interests and activities.
- Get involved with your youth in an activity.
- Make a list of interesting careers with your youth. Select one each month to explore and discuss.
- Save and share articles for discussion.
- Explore music, books, movies, shows, sports and other things your youth is interested in.
If your youth is reluctant to talk about their future plans, it may be important to establish some ground rules for discussions, such as:
- How often to have career conversations.
- Ways of advising them of information.
- How to approach challenging topics.
Five sample questions to ask your youth:
- Where do you see yourself after high school?
- What can I do to help you figure out your next steps?
- Where do you see yourself going to work every day?
- What does your work environment look like?
- What activities makes you happy?
Create a Vision Board together. Collect photos or words/phrases. Make it as elaborate or basic as you like. Post the vision board in view, for example, on your fridge or wall so that it can encourage the conversation.
Watch for the next series to attend a Career Exploration Conversations webinar for parents and guardians. The virtual event offers guidance to support career exploration and career conversations with youth. Co‑hosted by WorkBC and CES Career Education Society.
Consider post-secondary education
Is a post-secondary education important for your youth’s future?
Over the next 10 years, nearly 80% of job openings in B.C. will require some type of post-secondary education or training.
- 36% Bachelor’s, Graduate or First Professional Degree.
- 29% Diploma, Certificate.
- 20% High School and/or Occupation-Specific Training.
- 12% Apprenticeship Certificate.
- 3% Less than High School.
For many occupations, there is a clear, predominant education pathway and therefore, a single typical education background. For other occupations, there is more than one pathway, so both a “typical” and an “alternative” education background can be identified. Be prepared to be open and explore the various paths that are available. What path has your career taken? Share your journey with your youth
Course selection in high school can affect options after graduation. For admission to a degree program, most universities require at least:
- English 12 or English 12 First Peoples (not Communications 12).
- Foundations of Math or Pre-Calculus 11.
- Any Language 11.
Some programs have additional admission requirements. Find out what courses are needed to pursue a specific career.
Discover labour market information trends
Labour market information provides details about the economy, skills shortages, population trends and forecasts about future employment growth. B.C. is expected to have 1,004,000 job openings between 2021 and 2031.
Over the forecast period, the number of annual job openings is expected to increase by 140,000 in 2022 driven by anticipated sustained economic and labour market recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2023 and 2031, 96,000 job openings each year on average are forecasted.
Young people entering the workforce for the first time will be the largest source of new workers, filling about 48,000 job openings or 47% of the total job openings each year over the next decade.
Source: B.C.'s Labour Market Outlook: 2021 Edition
Each of the seven regions offers a forecast that is diverse and has unique labour market conditions. For each region you will find employment statistics, population data, 10-year labour market outlooks and more. Learn more about your region.
Create a career portfolio
Creating a portfolio can give your youth a great place to collect research on careers of interest and favourite resources you have found. Throughout their career journey, they can use their portfolio to document and showcase their accomplishments, work and volunteer history, goals and letters of reference from people who can speak to their skills and achievements. Remember, it’s a living document and is meant to be updated regularly.
The Career Portfolio has many uses which may apply to you in different ways at different times:
- An organizational tool, a personal diary, to provide a framework to keep track of important documents and reflect upon life experiences.
- A learning tool to keep track of and evaluate your learning and work experiences as you look to future education and careers.
- A career planning tool for self-assessment, career exploration, and career decision making.
- A marketing and self-promotion tool to use in applying for school or for work opportunities.
- An evaluation tool to measure how well you are doing in current schooling or work.
- A past learning assessment tool to gain credit and recognition for non-formal learning experiences (i.e. teams, clubs).
To gain a better understanding of the value of a career portfolio, review this guide for more details.
Source: UManitoba: Student Career Portfolio Guide
Suggest your youth create their own career portfolio. This could be created as a print or digital/electronic product. Your youth may already have access to a program offered within their school district or they can create one, for example, by using Microsoft OneNote. To learn more and get started building a Career Portfolio with OneNote, view this video.
Source: Intro to Microsoft OneNote by Kevin Stratvert