"Dad, what should I do when I finish high school?"
This is a question I've been dealing with these days. My son is in Grade 11 and looking at his future. I've been trying to forget he's almost finished high school. I'm trying to remember when he learned to ride a bike instead. Time sure goes fast. And boy, does his pending graduation make me feel old!
My initial response to him was going to be: "Decide what you want to take at university, and study hard!" He's done the study hard part really well. The problem is, I'm the one who should have done more studying before giving him advice.
When I asked my father what I should do, he had come from a different time. He was a pre-boomer. His generation had fewer people getting a post-secondary education to establish their career. They didn't need to.
The massive balloon of children and families wanting more products and services drove employment. Advancing in your career during his generation was easy; the demand for someone to fill a seat was greater than the competition to fill it. Jobs were for life back then.
From his experience, my father's advice to me was: "Go to university, the job will follow." Apparently he hadn't read up on demographics at the time. I'm at the tail end of the baby boom. I got the education, but the boomers in front of me clogged up the job front.
Now I'm in the position of having to provide my son (and eventually my other kids) advice on preparing for their future. All along, I've been practicing my "Go to university" speech.
Just when I thought I had it perfected, I did what my father hadn't done. I did a little research, and found that my initial response might not be the best advice after all.
The jobs for my son's generation will be quite different than for mine. I've heard all about a pending labour shortage, but it became much clearer when I attended a recent Delta school board meet-ing (yes, I'm part of the "sparsely populated" audience).
Apparently, 10 per cent of future jobs will be filled by people who do not complete high school, 10 per cent by those who graduate Grade 12 and 30 per cent by those who carry on and complete university. But that's only half the workforce.
The remaining 50 per cent will be filled by those who complete trades and technical training. The jobs that were filled by those who weren't able or didn't have the desire to go to university in my era will be the majority of jobs in B.C.'s future. Sounds like getting into BCIT is going to get a bit harder!
So my advice to my son changes. Now I'll tell him, "Whatever you do, finish high school with the best grades you can. Keep your options open, and surf BCIT's website when you are looking at UBC and SFU. Do what you really love, because hopefully you'll be doing it for a long time.
"Finally, don't always trust what others say, including your old man, because your future looks a lot different than mine did."
But for everything else, I'm still right. Now, clean up your room, please.