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Career Awareness Initiatives Proven to Expand Youth Choice

Let's Talk Careers
Let's Talk Careers
October 20, 2021

Let’s Talk Careers Competitions bring relevance to students, identify pathways to post-secondary learning and increase potential career choices

Let’s Talk Science and Skills/Compétences Canada, in partnership with Chatterhigh, are pleased to once again present the Let’s Talk Careers: Canada’s Most Informed School and Students competition to engage students in career discovery through a fun and interactive competition. Students learn about career and post-secondary options by researching and answering questions about careers, post-secondary pathways, and the labour market to earn points. Last year the competition engaged over 14,000 students at 505 schools across the country. Career profiles were explored over 1,600,000 times in the course of the school year, many of which were science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and skilled trade-related.

Many studies show that regardless of the impacts of disruptive technology and the rapid change of the global economy, little has changed in the public perception of skilled trade and STEM professions. Many students are unaware or uninterested in pursuing these career paths because they do not know very much about them or think that they do not fit into the idea of what a “scientist is”. A report published by Let’s Talk Science, “Impact of Youth Career Awareness Programming”, summarizes the outcomes of various career awareness initiatives on youth outlook and preparedness for future careers.

Using data collected from participants in previous Let’s Talk Careers competitions it was determined that while answering the daily quizzes students only indicated prior awareness of the programs/careers presented to them about half the time:

  • The highest awareness levels were about careers/programs in Education (59% aware) and Visual and Performing Arts, and Communications Technologies (59% aware). 
  • The lowest awareness was about careers in the Humanities (46% aware) and Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation (48% aware).
  • Awareness about programs/careers related to STEM and Non-STEM was similar with 54% and 55% awareness respectively. 
  • Within the sciences specifically, students were most aware of programs/careers in the Biological Sciences and least aware of programs/careers in Engineering Technology.

The results indicate that better awareness of diverse career options in STEM and skilled trades, exposure to role models in these fields, and greater understanding of the value of interdisciplinary skills in post-secondary pathways increases youths' desire to take optional STEM courses in high school.

The Let’s Talk Careers Competition is a great way to get students in Canada exploring existing and emergent careers in skilled trades, technologies and STEM. Learn more about the competition taking place this fall from October 25 to December 3, it’s free and easy for all Canadian schools to get involved.