Working Wise: Value of an education

Dear Working Wise: My daughter isn’t planning to attend post-secondary. She doesn’t think there is any point. How can I convince her that it’s the right thing to do for her future? — Signed Frustrated Father

Dear Frustrated: Albertans with a post-secondary education tend to earn more and are more likely to be employed than those without a diploma or degree.

Nearly 70 per cent of high-school graduates were employed in Alberta in 2015 compared to 76 per cent of those with a post-secondary certificate or diploma. More than 81 per cent of Albertans with a degree were employed according to Alberta Labour’s Employment and Wages for Alberta Workers with Post-Secondary Education report.

And according to that same report, the average Alberta high-school graduate earned $24.42 per hour compared to $30.79 for those with a post-secondary certificate or diploma. Those with a degree earned $34.16 per hour on average.

The difference may not seem all that significant, but multiplied over a 40 year career a worker with a degree will earn nearly $1 million more on average than a worker with a high school diploma.

Alberta’s Occupational Demand and Supply Outlook 2015-2025 compares the anticipated supply and demand for hundreds of different occupations. Top growth occupations include: construction and transportation managers, computer and information systems professionals, nurses, medical technologists and technicians, sales and service supervisors, childcare and home support workers, and others.

Nearly all of these in-demand occupations require post-secondary training.

Young Albertans have an opportunity to make the most of their future by ensuring that they have the skills that employers need.

However, not everyone is ready to attend a post-secondary program straight out of high school.

Young people can learn a lot about the world of work by spending a year in the workforce. It can give them time to gather some career ideas, start an apprenticeship, start their own business, or develop an appreciation for the value of an education.

Encourage your daughter to explore her career options on the alis web site alis.alberta.ca.

Alis is full of helpful career planning tools, including:

l CAREERinsite career planning tool;

l Occupational profiles on more than 500 careers; and

l Video profiles of more than 200 careers.

The alis occupational profiles (OccInfo) include typical wages, expected hiring demand, common duties, working environment, and required training for each occupation.

She can also call the Career Information Hotline, toll-free at 1-800-661-3753, and speak to a career advisor.

She may discover the perfect career or program, like the skilled trades, where you spend 80 per cent of your time learning, and getting paid, while on the job.

Good luck!

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services. This column is provided for general information.

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