So, What is the Problem with Today's Youth?
More Educated than Ever, but Unemployed?
Canada’s youth population has significantly shrunk yet youth underemployment is at an all-time high. Thirteen percent of 15-29 year olds - over 900,000 young Canadians - are NEETs (not in education, employment or training). Two in five out-of-school 20-30 year olds is unemployed or underemployed. At the same time, Canadian young people are more educated than ever with the vast majority of them holding at least a high school diploma. Clearly, something is missing in their preparation for life beyond school.
Conversely, employers in growth industries are challenged to find young people with the ‘real-world’ competencies and experience they need. Canada has a record number of high paying technology jobs that continue to go unfilled because there are not enough qualified workers available to fill them. A 2015 global McKinsey study found that only 34% of employers think that youth are prepared for the workplace. A 2013 survey conducted by Pathways to Education found that more than half of Canadians (54%) believe youth are not even moderately prepared to meet the needs of the emerging job market.
Simply put, methods that have made Canada a proud global leader in education are no longer fully preparing young people for life beyond school. New competencies are now required for living, learning and working in today’s increasingly culturally diverse and competitive world, driven as it is by unprecedented technological advances.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Transitions Canada Coalition is to foster collaboration among education ecosystem stakeholders to identify, enhance, test and scale transformative innovations to prepare students for success and happiness in life beyond formal education. To do this we must bridge the education-industry divide, the talent gap, bridge jurisdictions, bridge geographical, cultural and religious differences and bridge partisan divides.
How is This Going to Work?
Life Readiness meets a proven Pan-Canadian Model
Life-readiness is emerging as a new mantra for education. Life-ready secondary school graduates are prepared for life after high school, including postsecondary education and modern jobs and career paths. Advocates of life-readiness contend that the purpose of public education is to look beyond test scores or graduation rates—success in school—to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (competencies) students actually need to succeed in adult life. Increased focus on life-readiness is triggering a paradigm shift in education to personalized, project-based, work-based learning that helps students explore and test career and life pathways at all levels while learning academic subjects in “real life” contexts.
K-12 education is the exclusive jurisdiction of provincial and territorial governments. This means 13 autonomous jurisdictions are doing their best to prepare their students for success beyond school. But all students will graduate into the same global community needing similar competencies! In very positive steps forward, the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada (CMEC) approved a new Reference Framework for Successful Student Transitions in July 2017 and six Global Competencies in 2018. Moreover, the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET) is developing a framework of competencies Atlantic Canadians require to navigate and propel learning, work, and transitions through the lifespan. These initiatives to collaborate across provincial/territorial boundaries to promote successful student transitions underscore the importance of this issue. They are also promising signs of concerted and collective action. Nonetheless, budgets are tight and most teachers and administrators are stretched to the breaking point with constantly changing demands on their time and energy.
Provincial and territorial education departments have shown genuine enthusiasm for collaboration with their counterparts in the past (see Past Pan-Canadian Projects) when the federal government respects their jurisdiction and supports their collaboration with funding not otherwise available to them.
When a project is approved by the TCC National Advisory Council a five-phase project management model is followed:
Agreement among multiple TCC partners on a transformative project. TCC secures funding from the Federal Government and convenes a Project Advisory Council (PAC) to agree on detailed project definition, scope, and specifications.
Prototype development and approval. TCC contracts with leading experts to research, develop or refine a testable prototype based on PAC specifications.
Concurrent pilots in all regions. Pilot sites are selected competitively and apportioned based on population. Universities or other objective third parties are engaged to evaluate, assess impact, and recommend enhancements.
PAC meets to agree on revisions and enhancements to be made based on pilot results. TCC assures PAC-recommended changes are made.
National and regional launches by TCC partners. TCC will develop and make available common tools and procedures for promotion, implementation, training, on-going support, and sharing of common success metrics (Pan-Canadian Implementation Methodology), but TCC partners can localize and brand these as they see fit.