What are you going to do with your life?

Futures Week helps students figure that out with workshops and speakers

Principal’s Page
By Jeff Reaburn, SHDHS

Next week the school, in conjunction with the School Council, is hosting a series of presentations intended to help students figure out what they may want to do with their lives. The program, called “Life After High School: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?” or Futures Week, for short, covers a range of post-secondary options from college, university and the workplace to small business and entrepreneurship. Our goal is to make students more aware of the range of possibilities beyond high school and to encourage them to explore the available options.
The opening session on Monday afternoon (October 15) will focus on small business and entrepreneurship. We have subtitled this session “Small Business: Do It Yourself,” and have invited a number of local entrepreneurs and small business people for a panel discussion on running your own business. We have asked these individuals to talk about what inspired them to start up their businesses, how they got started, and what challenges they have faced in running their own businesses. We hope to encourage students to consider the prospect of working for themselves and to consider the pros and cons of being your own boss.
On Monday evening we have lined up a panel of experts to talk about where we are headed in a session called “The Future: Emerging Opportunities.” There is no doubt that we are currently trying to prepare young people for jobs that don’t even exist yet in a marketplace and world of work that are ever-changing. We have asked our panel of local experts to discuss the future of manufacturing, tourism, business, and agriculture in our area and in the province so that students and parents can be more aware of the skills and knowledge that may be required to be successful in the years ahead.
Our focus on Tuesday will be the world of work as we explore apprenticeships and non-traditional careers, occupations that students may be overlooking or of which they may be completely unaware. From journalism to politics, and accounting to engineering, this session is intended to get students thinking about a variety of occupations that they may not be considering, including niche careers that satisfy a very particular market demand. This session will also explore the world of apprenticeships with a particular focus on the growing demand for skilled trades people.
Wednesday’s sessions will be devoted to financial planning – how to pay for post-secondary education. Marilyn Davies from King’s College will be on hand for both the afternoon and evening sessions to talk about OSAP and budgeting for college and university. In addition, we have invited advisors from local financial institutions to talk about other sources of funding, from educational lines of credit to Registered Education Savings Plans. The afternoon session is intended primarily for graduating students who will be going on to post-secondary education next fall (and their parents), while the evening session will be open to everyone.
On Thursday afternoon, the focus will be “Learning Outside the Box,” with a focus on private colleges and alternative sources of learning, including the new Lake Huron Learning Collaborative, which is providing university courses in Goderich. There will also be representation from the Canadian Armed Forces and students will be able to gather information about sources of education beyond community colleges and universities. On Thursday evening there will be a career fair with representation from a range of businesses, industries and educational institutions.
Finally, on Friday, our focus will be on agriculture where “Dirt is Only the Beginning.” The focus in this final session will be on the diversity of careers available in the agricultural sector, with representation from a variety of local agribusinesses.
As you can see, we have tried to offer something for everyone. While the afternoon sessions will be aimed primarily at our senior students, parents are also welcome to attend and the evening sessions are open to everyone. The afternoon sessions on Monday and Friday are scheduled to run from 12:45 to 3:20, while the Tuesday through Thursday afternoon sessions will be in the last period of the day, from 2:05 to 3:20. All of the evening sessions will begin at 7:00 and run until approximately 9:00. Senior classes are being invited to attend the afternoon sessions, but students may also sign up for them individually if the entire class is not attending.
A complete schedule of the Futures Week sessions can be found on our school web site, www.shdhs.ca, under the heading “Career Week at SHDHS.”