Acquisition of employability skills by high school students

Much of the debate about enhancing the employability skills of Canadian youth is premised on untested assumptions. This paper examines Alberta high school students’ self-reports of the employability skills they have acquired in high school courses, formal work experience programs, paid part-time employment, and volunteer work. Certain types of employability skills are considerably more likely to be acquired in some settings than in others. Most students do not see the labour market relevance of analytic skills or of a basic high school education. In addition, the skills that employers typically indicate they are seeking are not the same as the skills that students believe employers want. Such findings suggest that the different stakeholders may not be communicating effectively with each other. In particular, educators and employers must demonstrate more clearly to students the link between core secondary school curriculum and employment outcomes.
Article text