Explore SCWEA's Career Educator Compendium
For Educators & Lifelong Learners
[kuh – reer]
The progress and actions taken by a person throughout a lifetime, often composed of the jobs held, titles earned and work accomplished, as well as formal and informal learning opportunities
Someone who is learning about a particular subject or how to do something, scholar, novice, apprentice, one who is being educated. Not limited by age or education
A paid position of regular employment, a task or piece of work
Do something, buy and sell
a structured system of supervised training leading to certification in one of Saskatchewan’s designated trades.
Schooling taken after high-school completion. In Saskatchewan, Primary school is grades 1-9, Secondary school is grades 10-12.
The Saskatchewan Career and Work Education Association (SCWEA) is a Professional Growth Network (PGN) in the Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation (STF). We see the value of connecting all interested stakeholders to ease the transition from school to post-secondary life. This project, funded through a grant from the STF, is part of our ongoing work to provide Saskatchewan relevant content and resources to teachers, students, families and industry partners across our province.
The BIG Picture
When working with students, one of the first things we work through is the idea of "the big picture." Career is more than a job, it's a journey. It includes all of the ups and downs, ins and outs, starts and restarts that make up our lives. Career development does not have age limits, and it should not be looked at as just a class or curriculum of its own. Career development can be integrated across all grades and subjects.
For a number of years, "work-life balance" has been a buzz phrase, but it is one that we are trying to get away from. We need a balanced life, including work as part of our life. True balance means our work fits us in such a way that we don't have to leave parts of ourselves outside the door. The big picture has us looking for work that meets our needs and our goals, that matches our interests and our values, that celebrates who we are and pushes us to who we want to be. Acknowledging the big picture, rather than equating our career with our job, means that we don't have to "give up" our career to care for our families or expand our education, we just enter a different chapter.
My grandfather left school in grade 8 and got a job to help support his family. He worked for the UGG until he retired in his 50s with his gold watch. Although that was the norm for many generations before us, it is not so much now. Statistically, .06-.08% of Canadian employees change jobs each month, this means that they are employed one month to the next, but with different employers. The idea of cradle to grave employers has been supplanted, in part by the gig economy. Most of the time, people are happy with the change.
Preparing our students for these career changes is a crucial part of our job. To thrive in this employment culture, we need to be able to identify our strengths and weaknesses, pursue learning opportunities and be open to suggestions. It also helps to phrase these changes as pivots, rather than fresh starts. In a pivot, you plant one foot and use the momentum to turn yourself in a different direction. One way we can help our students understand this is to look at the transferable skills they develop in their regular activities. Playing team sports can give us the ability to work in a group, accept coaching, manage our time and energy. Teach students to look for the ways that what they enjoy doing can prepare them for what they want to do, and they will be set to succeed.
These types of skills, and the learner attitudes will be especially valuable in weathering the changes that have sprung up from surviving the pandemic. We have come to know a "new normal," and it has effected the job market as well. In Saskatchewan, this has led to growth in our job market. Our diverse economy has allowed us to expand during these trying times, while many other regions struggle. The rise in remote and hybrid work has shifted power back to employees, as it allows job seekers to look for work anywhere, without having to move.
"As power shifts towards candidates in hiring interactions, employers have had to get creative to retain top talent. Attractive benefits packages can often seem to carry more value than they actually cost to deliver, while less standard offerings like increased flexibility in time-off can entice new workers for little additional cost" (Star Phoenix). We can help prepare students by teaching them the full value of non-salaried benefits and helping them to identify their values before they enter the job market.
Amanda Ross, SCWEA Treasurer