Photo © Pexels/Alena Darmel
Studies show that even with technological advancements and a rapid change in the global economy, little has changed in the public perception of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions, or in the career aspirations of youth in Canada.
A recent report published by Let’s Talk Science, “Impact of Youth Career Awareness Programming,” summarizes the impact of various career awareness initiatives on youth outlooks on STEM careers and their preparedness for the future. The results indicate that better awareness of diverse career options, exposure to role models, and greater understanding of the value of interdisciplinary skills increases youths’ desire to take optional STEM courses in high school and pursue careers in these fields once they graduate.
STEM skills are beneficial for most modern career paths: from digital literacy needed to work efficiently in the online world, to advanced problem-solving skills that enable us to think critically, analyze risks, and create solutions for sustainable development. In its purest form, STEM skills provide youth with the tools they need to grow into active global citizens prepared to tackle the most pressing issues facing our communities.
One of Let’s Talk Science’s top initiatives in raising career awareness among youth is the Let’s Talk Careers Competitions, run in partnership with ChatterHigh and Skills/Compétences Canada. These competitions engage students in career discovery through a fun and interactive online platform where they learn about career and post-secondary options by researching and answering questions about careers, course selection, and the labour market to earn points for themselves and their schools.
Last year the competition engaged over 6,000 students at 245 schools across the country. There were over 485,133 career profiles explored in the course of the competition periods, many of which were STEM and skilled trade related.
The Let’s Talk Careers Competition is a great way to get youth in Canada exploring existing and emergent careers. Learn more about the competition running from October 25 to December 3, it’s free and easy to get involved.
Our world is rapidly changing and Canadian children and youth need to be curious, ask questions and be capable of challenging the status quo in order to succeed. In a world increasingly driven by innovation, the demand for people who can fill science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) – related jobs – will only continue to increase but the reality is that most Canadian students disengage from STEM courses before graduating high school