“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
As a teen in high school, this question can cause anxiety about the future. Especially if you’re disengaged and unsure as to why you’re even in school. A young person knows only a limited number of job titles, yet, if you look at the National Occupational Classification, you’ll find near 30,000 listed with jobs being added as they are created. Youth often think they have to choose one career. Isn’t this awful? They should see the world as full of opportunities they can work on and interests they can explore. How can we help them realize this?
We Recruit Vulnerable Youth
The Reboot Plus program recruits students who have become disengaged with their high school education and are not on track to graduate. School counsellors and teachers refer students to the program to catch them before they fall through the cracks. There are many reasons students check out. The complexity of each situation is unique. There are several things we do to in our program to help students create a vision for their future to realize their full potential.
We Help Youth Find Challenges of Interest
One way of examining career thinking is to flip the way in which we present career exploration to students. Instead of focusing on their interests, to find out what courses they need, to get into what program they need, to get the job they want, we might examine what challenge they want to work on. This can look like challenging the current education system, or improving transportation and infrastructure, or creating a more user-friendly video game experience.
We Connect Youth with Industry Professionals
Once students recognize where the challenges are, they can then talk to someone who is working on them. In the Reboot Plus program, we match students with 4-7 professionals for informational interviews. These interviews provide youth with insight into a career or industry they are interested in. These conversations help youth understand what is needed to enter the industry while connecting them to a larger network. They learn the skills and education that are needed to do this job and can investigate what steps they will need to take to get there.
We Help Youth Find a Path Forward
Once students have clarity of direction, the Reboot Plus program helps students learn how to work backwards from their goal to create the path they need to get there. This looks like understanding the requirements of the career, to finding the right program or courses needed to get there, to realizing how high school will contribute to their success. In the end, youth leave the program with purpose and a map to their future potential. These students then show up to class in a different way. They know they are moving towards their future potential and have more focus and clarity.
We Help Youth Reach Their Potential
Every single person has a unique contribution to make. Our job is to help youth find their uniqueness so they can feel hopeful for the future. Youth who do not reach their full potential cost the economy through unemployment or underemployment. Helping youth make better choices decreases their risk of dropping out of school and not reaching their potential. A future of growth and change requires us to go deeper with youth, especially in today’s economy. With an unprecedented 1,000,000 job openings projected in BC in the next 10 years, we need every individual contributing to the needs of our economies.