A strong education system is the cornerstone of a healthy and diverse economy. Although good in many ways, today’s education system must be improved to better prepare our students for the challenges they will face when they head into the working world. Upon graduation many students find they are not fully prepared to step into industries that fuel employment in our province. The result is a higher unemployment rate among young people in Saskatchewan, leaving many graduates to wonder: What now?
When talking with the majority of my friends, a common question we ask is, “How did the secondary school system let us down? More importantly, how can it be fixed?” Our answer is that high school educators must engage with industry leaders and trades associations, allowing them to provide students with practical training and a curriculum in-line with the requirements of specific trades and industries.
Opportunities should be provided at the high school level, alongside a traditional curriculum, for students to learn the skills that will best suit their personal circumstances and career path. This approach is already being implemented on a small scale in several Saskatchewan schools.
An expanded approach would see the widespread introduction of a set of classes available to all secondary students in Saskatchewan focusing on training in specific trades. Students who choose to take these classes would be provided with practical hand-on training and the opportunity to learn alongside industry professionals, increasing the chances of meaningful employment immediately following graduation.
Many students will go on to pursue university or other post-secondary education following high school. For them, such skills training can only prove to be beneficial regardless of the educational or career path they may ultimately follow. More importantly, those who enter the workforce directly out of high school will be better prepared with the skills to become employed and begin contributing immediately to the growth of our economy.
It is my hope that the “What Now?” question that my friends and I asked will no longer exist for future graduating classes. They will simply benefit from an education system that better prepared them for life’s challenges.
P.S. We are asking Saskatchewan Liberal Party members to share their views as we shape our party’s platform for the next election. We welcome your comments on our Facebook page, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org