By Pat Hinds
A recent article in the Calgary Herald, Education Restructuring Urged, spoke about the necessity for Alberta to overhaul its education system to better meet the needs of students in the changing economy. When I read this article, it caused me to reflect on a conversation that I overheard recently while on the bus ride home from work. A young guy around 20 years old, who appeared to be working as a laborer in the construction industry, was speaking to a co-worker who was in his late 40’s. The younger guy was telling the older guy that he was working on getting his electrical ticket. He indicated the motivation for him was the fact that one of his co-workers, who was new to Canada and English was a second language, attained his electrical ticket and was now making more money than he was. Additional motivation was the fact he had a couple of roommates who had been working construction as laborers that were recently laid off due to the economic downturn and all they wanted to do all day was sleep!
I know there are many factors why people do not set or achieve career goals in life, but the fact is we are in control of our education system; in many ways, it is apparent the system is a contributor to young Canadians not having career aspirations. The education system needs to evolve to accommodate new generations of Canadians, our changing business requirements, and the rapidly aging workforce. We are going to be faced with the largest exodus of workers in the history of our country and yet we continue to graduate people from our educational system that are not engaged and have no clear understanding of what is required from them to be successful in the Canadian work force. If you look to the US and Obama’s new policy “from the cradle to the career,” they want to engage the concept of a career at a younger age – setting the expectations of what is required for the US to compete on a global scale. We need to embrace this concept and modify our education system to produce young people that are career focused in all facets of our economy and are prepared to take the place of the aging Canadian workforce. Our future as a competitive and prosperous country depends on it!
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