November is Career Awareness Month - “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This was an easy question to answer when I was five - a dancer! Then I took a class and found out that I hated dancing – scratch that one off my list. At seven - an astronomer! But WOW was theoretical physics hard to understand. As a teen up until second year post-secondary a veterinarian. I’ll let you in on a little secret - I’m still not a vet. I still struggle to answer the question – “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

I can only imagine the anxiety this question causes a teen today and how quickly doors are closed to potential careers. One of my worst marks in high school was in art. So, I did what many youth do when they are told they are not good a something, I dropped the class. Who needs art to become a veterinarian anyways? Little did I know that my drawing techniques would be graded when attending invertebrate zoology labs. The point - I wish someone had told me to keep going, to keep my options open.

When given the choice, most Canadian students drop senior level high school sciences and math because they don’t see the relevancy for their futures.

As a parent and a fellow Canadian this concerns me.

Canadian youth need our help to understand the implication of closing doors. Societies are changing. The emergence of new technologies is disrupting how businesses operate and interact with their customers, how people work and the careers they pursue, and even how citizens relate to their governments. More than ever before, full participation in almost every sphere of depends on basic understandings of the principles of mathematics and science and how they are applied in the technologies that surround us. More and more, personal and national success depends on effective science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

How do you create awareness for jobs that haven’t been created yet?

November is Career Awareness Month, and our team at Let’s Talk Science have come up with ways to keep youth engaged on the path to career discovery. 

We have recently teamed up with ChatterHigh – an online career pathways platform that uses gamification to engage student interest and help them discover careers they may not have considered. Students answer questions after reading or watching the material on a career and once they provide a correct answer they gain points that can be put towards monetary rewards, or donated to a charity of choice. It’s free to educators and youth and hosts questions on a variety of jobs including 150 English and 75 French STEM career profiles developed by Let’s Talk Science. In November your class can also participate in Canada’s Most Informed Classroom challenge to have a chance to win up $15,000 in prizes.

Creating awareness also means getting creative in the delivery of our message – #thatsarealjob helps to highlight lesser known careers through video. The videos present youth, educators, parents and adults a starting point to spark a conversation about what the jobs of the future could look like.

Career resources are also available for educators through CurioCity, and include articles, profiles, videos and 360 degree experiences helping youth dive into their potential STEM career.

This November we encourage you to start a conversation with the youth in your life – help them keep doors open and on the path of career discovery.

Written by Desiree Newhook, Manager of Communications for Let’s Talk Science. Desiree was born with a curiosity of the world around her and after many years of working in Animal Welfare, re-discovered her curiosity for STEM, teaching and telling stories with Let’s Talk Science. Desiree resides in St. John’s Newfoundland with her two children, two fur children and better half.

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