Beginning of the second cycle

The third year of high school is a pivotal time when some students can begin to specify their preference for an occupation or field with a view to choosing courses or a vocational training program. It is important to note, however, that not all young people have an established, solid preference. They still have time to explore, learn and experience various fields.

Guidance and educational information in the classroom

Young people sometimes have access to the Personal Orientation Project (POP) course, and to guidance tests or questionnaires permitting them to learn more about their interests, values, skills and personality traits.

This period is conducive to a more concrete exploration according to interests, abilities and personality, and according to the training sectors available.

At this age, young people may be able to identify their main interests and pinpoint their strongest abilities. They may also be able, with the help of counselling professionals, to determine their dominant personality type.

You can help by encouraging them to:

  • carry out professional observation activities.
  • interact with people who practice the trades that interest them.
  • have a summer job or work part-time (babysitting, lawn-mowing, etc.).
  • read or listen to reports on various topics.
  • get involved in extracurricular activities or take specialized courses.
  • do volunteer work.
  • get involved in their school environment, e.g., student radio or the school newspaper.
  • go to the “open houses” or “career days” of different educational establishments.
  • meet with their guidance counsellor if necessary.

Refer to the Guidance for my child section for more advice to better support your child.

The school world is becoming more and more important in your adolescent’s life. It is interesting at this stage to explore the future possibilities that will soon present themselves.

Together with your child you can start to:

  • identify the choices in the school system (course options, vocational training, college studies, etc.).
  • group occupations according to the required education levels.

Since it is possible to access vocational training beginning in the third year of high school, it may be helpful to assess the pros and cons of the various vocational programs available.

Exploring the world of work can prove to be a very useful activity, with your support. Of course, your child will begin to engage in some of these activities in class, and some will even have their first one-on-one meeting with a guidance counsellor. You can support them during these activities which include:

  • grouping professions around specific characteristics: interests, aptitudes, working conditions and personality traits.
  • describing certain environments and workplaces of some well-known people.
  • testing them at various work tasks and situations to verify their skills and occupational interests.
  • exploring various working conditions and specifying which ones they prefer.
  • describing in detail one or more preferred occupations.
  • identifying companies or institutions that require workers with secondary vocational training and identifying tasks that they can perform in different sectors of the labor market.
  • interviewing workers to discover which factors, since adolescence, have influenced their choices and career path.

Based on publications by Marcelle Gingras, guidance counsellor and retired professor at Université de Sherbrooke.