November is Canada Career Month

This month marks the first ever Canada Career Month. This new awareness month, sponsored by the Canadian Council for Career Development, is to discuss the issues in the current Canadian workplace in regional and national levels. The theme for the entire month is “Career Development Matters and Everyone has a Role to Play” but there are weekly sub-themes:
– Individuals and their community: What are individuals in your community doing to help Canadians find meaningful work?
– Employers of all sizes: How can you engage employers to get involved and be part of this national discussion?
– Education from K-12 to Postsecondary: What are your schools, communities and employers doing to help youth with career planning?
– Government and agencies: What can governments, at all levels, do to ensure meaningful work for all Canadians?

The launch of Canada Career Month is poignant with the current economic downturn hitting provinces like Alberta extremely hard right now, but people in all provinces need to address the current climate of work, as well as what work will look like in the future. Paula Wischoff Yerama, the executive director of the Career Development Association of Alberta, says that even in the absence of a tough economy people do not often give too much thought to career development. A tough economic climate makes learning about workplace issues even more important, and it’s also important to think about career development at all stages of work?from the time when a young person first enters the work force, to progressing in a career, and then finding the necessary skills when facing an end to work (whether through sudden job loss or retirement from the workforce).

The world of work and the concept of “having a career” has certainly changed. It used to be that a person chose a career and stuck with it, often with the same employer until retirement. However, the job market now is fast paced and highly unstable. Jobs are no longer guaranteed for life, and a person in may find themselves switching jobs and even career paths one or more times during their working life. According to a report about future career trends, released by the Career Professionals of Canada, there is now a necessity for a holistic approach in research that looks at how to search for and keep jobs. The organization also recognizes that workers need, as never before, to have greater personal ownership and accountability for one’s career options. There is also a shift toward self-managed or entrepreneurial careers. But another trend is that workers view having a balance between their work and personal lives as a necessity.

However, obtaining the skills necessary for establishing a meaningful work life are still left to chance. These skills are often not taught in schools, either at the grade school or post-secondary level. There is a high need for qualified career counsellors to teach these skills but this is a field that is just beginning to gain recognition and value.

In the meantime, Canada Career Month hopes to contribute to an open dialogue with workers and employers about career issues both during this Career Month and throughout the year. Look for Canada Career Month events in cities across Canada, or you can follow what is happening on Twitter with @careermonth. With the world of employment changing so rapidly there is a need to talk about the issues surrounding work. After all, work is a foundation of the human experience.

Carla would love to start her own typewriter collection and recently bought her first manual machine! She wonders what would happen if she were to submit a hand-typed essay to her tutors.

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