Skip to Content

Helping Kids Explore Career Options

February 3, 2011

Career Trek
(Above: Career Trek participant Sara Mensah, a student at Arthur E. Wright School in Winnipeg, takes part in a Career Trek session at Red River College.)

Still not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Don’t worry, kids – you’re not alone.

According to the founder of Career Trek, a local not-for-profit organization that helps young people explore their post-secondary educational options, a staggering number of high school students still don’t have any clue what to do with the rest of their lives

“You’ve got kids making critical life decisions that are going to completely affect their future, and we’ve done nothing to position them to make intelligent choices,” says Career Trek’s Executive Director, Darrell Cole.

“But imagine if we could construct a system where people actually tried things before they committed to them.”

That’s where Career Trek can help: Now in its 15th year, the initiative was launched to help young people understand the value a post-secondary education can bring to their lives, and to equip them with the knowledge required to tap into their full potential, while making informed decisions about their futures.

After being nominated by their schools, participants aged 10 and up spend an academic year’s worth of Saturdays visiting the major post-secondary institutions in Manitoba, where they’re exposed to a wide variety of courses and career options. Here at Red River College (on the Notre Dame, Exchange District and Stevenson Aviation campuses), Career Trek participants receive hands-on training in a range of vocations, including journalism, carpentry, culinary arts and electrical engineering.

By explaining which high school courses typically serve as pre-requisites for those same fields of study or training, Cole and his Career Trek colleagues help to demystify a process that has for decades left many students struggling.

“We get to these kids early, so that by the time they get to high school, they’ve had some significant exposures to their future,” says Cole. “They’re gaining something we don’t usually have until we’re adults, which is hindsight.”

For more information on Career Trek, see www.careertrek.ca.