CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Learning to make the school-to-work transition

If you've ever been unemployed, you know how frustrating looking for a job can be. Getting a foot in the door is the hardest part, especially if you're a youth with little or no work experience.

Many of today's youth get caught in the vicious cycle of no experience, no job; no job, no experience.

As a community, how do we work together to support our young people to ensure that they find a career that they excel at and enjoy, one that also fills employers' human resource needs?

A large part of the solution involves building a strong school-work transition system tied to the province's economic growth -- to nurture knowledgeable, creative and skilled individuals -- and then retain them here in Ontario.

Aug. 27 marked the first annual Hamilton School-Work Transition Conference, organized by the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton. About 250 educators, employers and other key stakeholders from across the province gathered to discuss ideas, issues and trends in school-work transition.

"It's great to see so many people getting together to learn about such a key issue in our province," said conference spokesperson Kate Bennett, Industry-Education Council. "We organized this free conference to raise awareness surrounding school-work transition, and to bring people together to discuss workable solutions."

Highlights of the day included keynote addresses from Michael Adams, president, Environics Group of Companies, and Brian Thwaits of Adams talked about the seven "tribes" of today's youth, their value and belief structures, and what motivates them. The afternoon keynote by Thwaits entertainingly educated participants about enhancing their learning, communication, creativity, problem solving and thinking skills. Breakout sessions covered a number of topics, from health & safety to career education planning for elementary school students, to incentives for employers in hiring young people. One conference participant, a Hamilton teacher, said, "[This] was one of the most informative conferences I've attended in a very long time. The speakers were excellent and very reflective of the needs of our students today and in the near future." The Hamilton School-Work Transition Conference was sponsored by Teachers Credit Union, Human Resources Development Canada, Passport to Prosperity and HR Matters: Hamilton's Human Resource Strategy. For more information, or to join an e-mail list for next year's conference, contact Kate Bennett at 905-529-4483 ext. 228 or send an email to You can also register online at

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