A new Ministry policy from the Ontario Government is getting students thinking about their future career path.
"Creating Pathways to Success, sets out the new career development policy for Ontario schools, which involves the implementation of a comprehensive Kindergarten to Grade 12 education and career/life planning program designed to help students achieve their personal goals and become competent, successful, and contributing members of society" (Source: Government of Ontario).
The policy is implemented through a portfolio called "All About Me," where students "are encouraged to document what they are discovering about themselves and their opportunities – in pictures, comments, letters to parents or peers, or in any other way they might choose."
At. St. Kateri Tekakwitha, grade 7 teacher Robert Welsh builds off the Pathways policy by bringing professionals into the classrooms.
"The point of our Pathways Program is to support our School Improvement Efforts where we try to engage the students as much as possible in the various pathways," said Principal Brent Condari.
"By bringing in guests who represent different occupations, it can help students explore pathways they are most interested in, which relates to the portfolio that’s been rolled out by the Ministry."
In the past guests have included Hamilton Police Detective Obrovac, Peel Regional Paramedic Service Supervisor Jeff Welsh and Superintendent of Education Sandra Pizzuti.
Most recently Paul Dama, an Architectural Technologist, visited the class to provide insight into the world of design and development, and how personal interests play a key role in exploring career options.
"Close your eyes and raise your hand if you like to draw pictures, colour or create," he said. "Raise your hand if you also like to do puzzles and games and figure out problems."
Bridging these activities to the world of architecture, Dama explained how his own love of design and detailing were fundamental in the success of his career.
You have to have a passion for what you do, he added.
Dama also emphasized the importance of working hard in every job, because you never know where that experience will lead.
"In high school I worked at Burger King, started out just flipping burgers, and became a manager. When I was in my second year co-op and was looking for a job, there was a guy who designed Burger Kings across Canada who wanted someone to design them with him. I knew how the equipment ran and how the process worked inside. That was my link to get a job right out of school."
Throughout his career he's designed numerous other fast food joints, condos, retirement homes, banks, theatres, and even the War Museum in Ottawa.
"Just think, you've sat in a Burger King, in a church, in a theatre. There's building all around us. Of every shape, colour and kind. It's an industry I just want you to see how much variety it has – how many opportunities."
As he concluded his talk, Dama encouraged the students to keep learning and exploring.
"Things can change along the way, you're only in grade 7 and 8, and your career is a long ways away. Your priorities and what you like to do could change, and that's okay."