STEM jobs are interesting, meaningful, very diverse, and absolutely critical for Canada’s future. Yet far too many young people close doors by avoiding STEM.

Over the next twenty years, it is forecast that the majority of jobs will need or benefit from STEM learning. Not just for researchers and physicians, STEM opportunities dominate all postsecondary pathways, including college, apprenticeships, and university. STEM engagement prepares youth to be informed citizens and develops important skills including problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking that are needed for any job.

"Canadian teens are driven by their interests when making decisions about education and career paths. Eighty-six percent of teens said that their interests strongly influence their aspirations and decisions."

Spotlight on Science Learning: Shaping Tomorrow’s Workforce: What Do Canada’s Teens Think About Their Futures? is Let’s Talk Science’s latest report, developed with support from biotechnology pioneer Amgen Canada, that examines the importance of STEM learning. As a national charitable organization that strives to keep doors open for all Canadian youth, Let’s Talk Science believes that it is easier to support teens when you understand what they are thinking.

The results areas follows:

  • Canadian teens are driven by their interests when making decisions about education and career paths. Eighty-six percent of teens said that their interests strongly influence their aspirations and decisions.
     
  • Interest in and appreciation for science is growing: 72 percent of teens believe that science is fun. That’s more than twice as many as in 2011.
     
  • Most (78 percent) believe science offers many different career options and 74 percent agree that a good understanding of STEM is very important to adult life.
     
  • Teens place great importance on values when considering future career options. Most want jobs that use higher-order skills like making a useful contribution to society (84 percent); helping people (79 percent); making decisions (75 percent); and solving problems (70 percent) — values inherent to STEM jobs.

Inspiring action

This should be very good news given the critical role of STEM in the economy and for jobs. So why do most youth stop pursuing STEM, thereby closing doors to future opportunities? It’s a complex issue and requires all of us to be involved.

One way to help youth understand future opportunities is by providing real life examples of how STEM can translate into interesting jobs. We need to continue to raise the value of STEM learning and showcase the importance of keeping doors open.

Infographic courtesy of Let’s Talk Science with support from Amgen Canada.