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How do I decide on a new career?

Decisions, decisions. Every day we face so many decisions and, aside from the “magic eight- ball” or asking Siri, there are few quick and easy tools to help us make choices.

Making the decision to go back to school can be a difficult one. Making the right choice about what to study or what jobs to get into after can be even more difficult. If you are choosing to go back to school, you want to make sure you graduate with a good shot at landing a job.

It’s obvious from the last few years that the demand for certain jobs and skills change over time – sometimes almost overnight. Occupations can disappear and completely new careers are created.

Just think about it. Ten years ago, if someone told you they were going to be an app developer, a data miner, or a sustainability consultant, you might have thought they were speaking a different language. Yet these are some of the new careers created in the past decade. Outside of technology, careers like audiologists, personal trainers and home and personal support workers have grown.

A recent report from the CIBC highlighted 25 occupations showing signs of labour shortages in Canada. The list included jobs in:

  • health care, including physicians and dentists, primarily in ambulatory healthcare
  • supervisor positions in mining, energy and manufacturing
  • management and human resources field

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has identified a number of new and emerging industry sectors in the Canadian economy including:

  • Biotechnology in agriculture, forestry, fishing and pharmaceuticals
  • Green energy technologies
  • Multimedia, particularly for mobile communications

“Going back to school can be a great opportunity to move into a more stable career, but it is important to know what kinds of job opportunities exist in your chosen area of retraining. In the end, you want to find a job as a result of your schooling, and to do that you have to do your research,” said Erica Dudszus, with the Brant Employment Centre of St. Leonard’s Community Services.

Dudszus urges people to visit a local employment centre to get advice. “Sometimes speaking to a professional employment consultant can help sort out your thoughts and make that decision.”

The best way to be prepared is to do research on what the employment trends are in the area. If you are interested in a particular career, contact a company in that field. Try to speak to a manager or human resources person. Ask them what education they would expect their employees to have. Doing this can help clear misconceptions around certain jobs and can also give you a personal connection for more information.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie produces an annual report highlighting promising careers. The Board has published guides on potential careers in the trucking industry, food industry, and professional fields. The guides include information on what local employers are looking for when they hire.

The Working in Canada website lists current job postings, and information on what training and education you will need to get into a desired career. It is a useful tool for determining what jobs are available now and seeing trends in job openings.

While it can be difficult to decide which occupation or career path will lead to the most success, one thing is certain: more jobs will require a Grade 12 education, and the vast majority will require an apprenticeship, a college diploma or a university degree.