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It’s nearly time to start applying to post-secondary schools and my 17-year-old son still isn’t sure what he wants to study. I’m worried that he might waste time and money taking courses that will be of no use to him, or worse, not even go to school. How

It’s nearly time to start applying to post-secondary schools and my 17-year-old son still isn’t sure what he wants to study. I’m worried that he might waste time and money taking courses that will be of no use to him, or worse, not even go to school. How

Dear Working Wise:


It’s nearly time to start applying to post-secondary schools and my 17-year-old son still isn’t sure what he wants to study. I’m worried that he might waste time and money taking courses that will be of no use to him, or worse, not even go to school. How can I encourage him to find a path and follow it? Signed, Concerned Father

Dear Concerned:

I am glad to hear that you are interested in your child’s education. You play an important and influential role in helping your son make good decisions—even if it doesn’t feel that way some days.

Step 1—Self-discovery is the foundation of solid career planning that will lead to a career he loves. Getting to know yourself can be tricky, though. The Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site http://alis.alberta.ca offers a free online, self-directed career-planning tool called CAREERinsite that he may find helpful. He may also prefer to use the This Is Your Life career & education planning workbook, which is available in the Publications section of the ALIS web site.

Step 2—Encourage him to explore the career possibilities. Discovering careers that fit his list of wants and interests may just be the thing to get him excited about his post secondary education. The ALIS web site features a wealth of information on career options including detailed profiles (http://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo) of more than 500 occupations, including typical wages, duties, work environments, employers, and educational requirements. ALIS also features video profiles of more than 200 careers from Baker’s Helper to Utility Planning Technologist.

Step 3—Have him narrow down his choices. Suggest that he interview people who work in the careers that interest him. Informational interviews will give him a real-world view of the job plus they might open up other exciting opportunities. Job-shadowing, volunteering and part-time jobs are fantastic ways for students to pick up valuable work experience and try out careers before they spend years in post-secondary. He should also factor in what the future demand is likely to be for his target career by checking out Alberta’s Occupational Supply and Demand Outlook at http://eae.alberta.ca/lmi.

Step 4—Help him choose a program and then a school. The ALIS website has a helpful section for Post-Secondary Students that can help your son find a program and choose a school using the EdInfo website at http://alis.alberta.ca/edinfo.

Step 5—Apply. The ApplyAlberta web site has made it easier for students to apply to one or more post-secondary institutions, authorize transcript transfers, and avoid having to fill out the same information over and over. Check out the ApplyAlberta web site at https://www.applyalberta.ca.

Step 6—Visit www.alis.alberta.ca/payingforschool to find out about the costs of post-secondary education and how to pay for it.

Finally, if you would like any more tips to help you work with your son, check out the Career Coaching Your Teens: A Guide for Parents publication on ALIS.

Planning out your education and career can be both fun and empowering. Having a plan and a goal will help your son get excited about post secondary and keep him motivated while he tackles the next few years of endless reading and cramming for exams.

Good luck to you both.

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.


 

I started framing houses this summer and so this is going to be my first winter working outside in the cold. We’ve already had a cold snap and I know that it’s going to get worse. Do you have any tips on staying warm?

I started framing houses this summer and so this is going to be my first winter working outside in the cold. We’ve already had a cold snap and I know that it’s going to get worse. Do you have any tips on staying warm?

Dear Working Wise:

I started framing houses this summer and so this is going to be my first winter working outside in the cold. We’ve already had a cold snap and I know that it’s going to get worse. Do you have any tips on staying warm? Signed, Freezing

 

Dear Freezing:

 

Working in the cold can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. The cold is a hazard and so your employer should be monitoring the outside temperature and taking steps to protect you.

 

However, you also have a role to play in protecting yourself and your coworkers. You and your co-workers are the ones most likely to notice frostbite, hypothermia or dehydration. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and warm this winter.

 

Dress in layers—Layers allow you to adjust as the temperature, wind and your physical activity level changes. This prevents you from getting too cold or hot—causing you to sweat. Damp clothing wicks away body heat and causes you to feel colder faster.

 

Stay out of the wind—a mild 20 km/h wind can make -20 C feel like -30 C. If you can’t work inside, try building a wind break.

 

Take frequent breaks—employers should provide a heated rest area. A schedule of regular rest breaks, based on the conditions, should be established to allow workers to warm up. Workers should be allowed to decide how often they need to take breaks—the schedule is just to ensure that you don’t forget to stop and warm up.

 

Limit your exposure—get your tools and nails ready before you go outside. Work on small projects inside and then carry them outside for installation. Work outside during the warmer hours of the day and work inside during the colder ones.

 

Drink warm liquids to help you warm up and alternate with water or a sports drink. Caffeine speeds up your metabolism, causing you to sweat and possibly dehydrate and lose electrolytes.

 

Cover your head and hands—the greater the surface area of your skin is exposed, the more heat your body loses. Be careful, scarves and gloves can get caught in moving equipment.

 

Use enclosures and heating systems when possible, but be sure the area is well ventilated to prevent the build up of carbon monoxide.

 

Know the signs of frostbite—a tingling sensation or skin that looks pale and waxy are the first signs of frostbite. Your hands, face and feet are at the greatest risk, because your body diverts blood away from your extremities first when it starts getting cold.

 

Know the signs of hypothermia—severe shivering is an early sign of hypothermia. A severely shivering worker should be warmed up immediately.

 

Watch out for hazards—snow can hide tripping hazards like extension cords or even icy surfaces. Wear proper footwear and mark or remove hazards.

 

Ask your co-workers—the people you work with have learned what works and what doesn’t. Check out what they wear and ask them what they recommend.

 

For more information and tips, visit http://humanservices.alberta.ca/whs and click on

Best Practice—Working Safely in the Heat and Cold in Best Practices publications.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

 

 

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