Atlantic provinces introduced a number of initiatives to assist youth to acquire academic skills, emphasize the relevance of their learning, connect with the labour market, and develop the essential employability skills and personal attributes employers need.
The economic consequences of reduced educational attainment, out-migration, youth unemployment/underemployment and delayed transitions to productive adulthood are staggering.
Jarvis (2013) projected the potential savings if career education could make a 1% difference across health, social services, protection and corrections.
- HEALTH: Jarvis argues that those who are unemployed/underemployed are subject to increased stress and predisposition to unhealthy behaviours, such as substance and physical abuse. Savickas (2002) made the connection between employment and mental health. The 2002 Ipsos-Reid survey found that one in six adults had been so stressed that they considered suicide. The main causes cited were work (43%) and finances (39%). If improved career planning could reduce health expenditures by just 1%, the annual savings would be $1.2 billion.
- SOCIAL ASSISTANCE: Fewer individuals would depend on social assistance payments if more had the skills to find and keep suitable work. A 1% reduction in payments would result in $2 billion in annual savings.
- CORRECTIONS: A 1 % improvement in the number of detainees who acquire career management/planning skills could save $510 million annually.
- TAX REVENUES: If the number of Canadians paying taxes (rather than drawing on assistance programs) increased by just 1%, the annual savings would amount to $5.8 billion. A 5% increase in employment would result in increased revenue of $29 billion annually for all levels of government.
Jarvis (2013) concludes:
Together, a 1% increase in government revenues and productivity and a 1% decrease in social costs represents over a $20 billion annual windfall for Canadian individuals, organizations and communities.
Similar analyses have been completed in the UK (Hughes, 2004) and US (Belfield, Levin and Rosen, 2012). Hughes (2004) concluded:
Implementing career-relevant opportunities will:
- Help more youth and adults to become satisfied, fulfilled, self-reliant, contributing and prosperous citizens
- Bring more motivated and engaged learners to teachers and trainers
- Provide more qualified and motivated workers to…businesses that are increasingly challenged to find the talent they need to compete successfully
- Save significant [money] annually in support of people who have difficulty locating and maintaining suitable work roles
- Increase the international competitiveness and improve living standards in communities across the nation.
- Investment in career development, exploration, and management services can produce very considerable cost benefits and savings for individual’s local communities and the national economy.
For these reasons, many jurisdictions are looking at the potential role of career education in supporting better career transitions for youth. The Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET) is no exception.