Guess what: your schooling isn’t quite over

Despite graduating from high school in either Parksville or Qualicum Beach, most Kwalikum and Ballenas grads will require post-secondary education or training

The education road is far from over

The education road is far from over

The future looks bright for students graduating from high school on Vancouver Island this year, though the experts point out it will likely mean their schooling isn’t yet complete.

Cyndy Ireland Bresden, executive director of the Career Centre in Parksville said they have an amazing amount of job postings at the moment, but cautioned they aren’t necessarily the best career prospect for grads.

Diana Jolly, labour market specialist with the centre, explained that post secondary education is becoming ever more important.

She points to the long-term government employment projections that show a large majority of the expected openings in the next 10 years (77%) will require some post-secondary education.

She pointed out Vancouver Island University offers training for the largest industries in the Oceanside area which are tourism, recreation, hospitality, aquaculture, health care and the trades.

Local high school grads who want to stay close to home can even take esthetics and nail technology right at the VIU Parksville campus.

For young people still struggling to find career goals, she references the work of career theorist Dr. John Krumboltz who said that choosing a career goal as soon as possible is a career myth.

He suggests that to create your own unexpected career you must make the most of unplanned events, create passion by taking action, keep your options open, test out your dreams — even without knowing the outcome and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Provincially, the latest numbers show the jobless rate decreasing slightly to 7.6 per cent. After a small increase it’s back to where it was at this time last year.

In May, the latest figures available, there were significant losses in public administration (-5.9%) finance, insurance and real estate (-3.4% and educational services (-1.5%), but those were offset by increases in management (9.7%), professional and scientific services (3.8%) and culture and recreation (3.3%).

While the self-employment numbers suffered in 2010, they rebounded this year with a 3.8 per cent jump in May alone, for 46,300 more self-employed people.

In the Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast region the employment rate dropped 3.7% in May, but according to the latest BC Labour Market Outlook released by the government in 2009, the future looks bright for the Island.

Provincially they project 1.13 million job openings from 2009 to 2019, 60 per cent from retirements and deaths and the rest from growth.

The Island/Coast region is expected to have an average annual employment growth rate of two per cent, the second highest in the province, behind the North Coast.

The fastest growing occupations provincewide are expected in the areas of sales and services, followed by trades, transport and equipment operators and business, finance and administration.

Other strong areas of growth include health care and natural and applied sciences.

The least growth is expected in art, culture, recreation, sport, manufacturing and primary industries like logging and mining, though the last two have strong outlooks on the Island.

The report suggests there will be skilled labour shortages throughout the province everywhere except the Lower Mainland, with the Island leading in the imbalance between labour demand and supply.

Local experts support this, pointing out there is little doubt the trades will provide many opportunities for the foreseeable future.

Nanaimo-based Laurie Schuerbeke, with STEP (Skilled Trades Employment Program), helps guide people through trades training said their clients tend to be a bit older, in their 20s, but they are starting to see recent high school grads.

STEP was established in 2006 to help “deepen the skilled trades labour pool in the province,” she said, pointing out the looming skilled labour shortage could actually benefit today’s youth.

High school graduates who have not been on Employment Insurance in the last three years can contact Schuerbeke for an initial discussion on local trades training options at 1-250-585-0575 or check for more information.

She added that the recent increasing focus on career preparation and dual credit programs in local high schools is a positive step.

“The world is your oyster,” the Career Centre’s Jolly said by e-mail. “There are a lot of programs for youth, just search youth in our blog ( and information comes up on entrepreneurship, BladeRunners and the new youth hiring incentive program.”

She also recommended the Youth Canada website  ( as a good place to start for more information on work experience through federal youth employment programs, apprenticeships and travel/work abroad programs.

Katimivak is also a great program for youth to gain work experience and volunteer across Canada.

Call the centre at 250-248-3205, e-mail or stop at 198 East Island Highway (by Quiznos) to make an appointment with an employment consultant for assistance with career decisions.


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