Preliminary interviews with members of the target audience have revealed a strong interest in the goals of the project. So I've decided to work with GBC to apply for a SSHRC Social Innovation Fund partnership grant to help get the project launched. Below is a brief overview.
Currently, students in high school are still being but put through “match-making” employment software that suggests to them careers based on their existing skills, academic credentials, and interests. This is in contrast to getting students excited about jobs that they may have never considered or were unaware of their appeal. As a result, there is a tendency to aspire to more popular or general careers (e.g. lawyer, teacher, engineer, doctor, or businessperson) despite future demand in the fields of, for example, Skilled Trades, Technology, and Hospitality.
As well, compared to previous generations, Millennials share both an uncertainty about their future employment options and a certainty in their desire to enjoy whatever work that may be. This is the generation that places work-life balance and new experiences over buying houses and cars. It is also the generation of low attention spans due to increased technological stimuli, which has made it increasingly difficult to pique their interest in topics that are not immediately familiar to them.
A digital depot of Job Talks – interviews with people who love their jobs. The content will result from 5 different industry partnerships over the next 3 years. Potential sectors include Skilled Trades, Health, Hospitality, Technology, and Construction & Engineering.
Job Talks is a simple concept: brief (3 to 5 minute) audio and video interviews (e.g. "20 questions") with people who love their jobs, from popular careers like doctors, engineers, and nurses, to lesser known or seemingly unappealing ones like land surveyors, sonographers, and plumbers. We will also aim to neutralize gender stereotypes about certain careers by seeking and interviewing, for example, a male nurse or a female plumber.
The interviews will be conducted by hired students and the “20 questions” will be determined through a large survey of Millennials. The idea is to go beyond the more readily available information like salary rates and into questions that possibly matter more yet are currently unanswered, like those around work-life balance, enjoyment and stressors of the job, and overall work environment. Sample questions (as determined by the research) may include ones like: Why do you love your job? What was it that attracted you in the first place? What’s the best part? What’s the hardest part? How do you separate home-life from work life? How important are ‘people skills’ to your job? What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing this career?
The interviews will be transcribed and captioned in multiple languages for an international audience. The interview questions and how they are answered by enthusiastic employees will also help each sector’s industry advocates improve their future marketing campaigns, which our students will also propose through class projects.
The digital depot will be made available for the international public and will be especially aimed at high school and post-secondary students, career counseling services, and unemployment resource centres.
Year 1 – 50 interviews with employees in the Skilled Trades
Year 2 – Interviews with employees in two additional sectors (e.g. Health Care and Hospitality)
Year 3 – Interviews with employees in two additional sectors (e.g. Business and Construction & Engineering)