A lot of students worry about what they will do after graduation. Will they be able to find a job in their field? Will they have enough experience to be hired? What kind of jobs are even out there, anyway?
It is no wonder that students are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to finding work post-graduation, particularly when you consider that many entry-level jobs these days require at least 3 years of professional experience. Students currently lack opportunities to gain this experience and to apply the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom to the working world. In fact, according to CASA’s 2018 poll, nearly half of students are not getting paid work experience in their field during their studies. This work experience is critical for students to gain practical skills that complement their formal education, as well as a better understanding of their own strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes on the job.
Our goal, as an advocacy organization that wants the best for students, is to make sure every student in Canada is given the opportunity to participate in a meaningful work placement during their studies – otherwise known as “100% work-integrated learning” or “100% WIL.” We are working collaboratively with the Business/Higher Education Roundtable and many other organizations to push this idea forward. You can read our joint letter to government on 100% WIL here.
We also know that students deserve to be paid for the work they do. The money students earn during school often helps them to afford expensive textbooks, tuition, and day-to-day living costs. Paid work often offers a better experience for students as well, since the employer has made an investment in that person. This way, employers have a greater incentive to properly train the student and give them meaningful work. Employers seem to recognize this, as students with paid experience end up with a higher chance of getting a job post-graduation than those with unpaid experience. CASA is proud to have pushed the federal government to eliminate unpaid work in the sectors it regulates (banks, shipping, air transport, radio and television, etc.).
Another reason that students can become overwhelmed when choosing their field of study and/or future career is that they lack information about what kinds of jobs are out there. In technical terms, we lack appropriate labour market indicators.
While those studying to become tradespeople have more clear career paths and apprenticeship requirements, this comes at its own cost, quite literally. These students are required to buy costly tools, for example, which the federal government currently offers a $500 tax deduction for. Given the cost of tools, this is not nearly enough!
For more information on student employment issues, read our policy paper! But don’t forget to sign our petition below first to show your support.