The Saskatoon Industry-Education Council (SIEC) is a non-profit organization working closely with three school divisions (Saskatoon Public, Saskatoon Catholic and Prairie Spirit), Tribal Councils, community based organizations, government agencies and Saskatchewan based employers to provide career development and exploration opportunities for youth. A Board of Directors representing industry, education and a variety of other organizations governs the SIEC.
In 2013, the SIEC accepted an aggressive challenge to build a Saskatchewan-based web system that would fill the long-time void of providing career development guidance to the residences of our province. Various components of a career-focused web page exist, or have been provided in the past through web sites like sasknetwork, saskjobs and futurepaths, but a holistic career-focused system had not existed. In fact, very few systems similar to what was proposed exist in the world. So the challenge was indeed, groundbreaking.
Utilizing a partnership model which included the Saskatchewan Ministries of Economy, Education and Advanced Education, the Government of Canada, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, various local Chambers of Commerce, and the SIEC, the project began in earnest with the agreement of a mandate in 2013: 'The project will provide the resources to support the planning of a 'one-stop' Saskatchewan-specific, comprehensive career development website that connects job seekers, youth, parents and educators/career practitioners to the right information about emerging occupations and career paths in the Saskatchewan economy.'
In November, 2014, the saskcareers.ca web system was officially launched by Minister Harris at the Saskatchewan Legislature. This phase of the project had been focusing on two primary groups within Saskatchewan: students from Grade 9-12 and Saskatchewan-based employers.
Saskatchewan students now have a set of tools available to them on the Internet, which can be used any time; either in school or at home on their own time. A tool called the High School Planner is available to help plan course selection and track marks as part of the student portfolio. Assessment tools are available to assist students in making course selections, post-secondary program choices, and long term career choices. Specific search tools are also available to assist students doing research into post-secondary education options, as well as doing specific occupation planning. Details that can be found on the site are extraordinary and include tuition costs, living expenses, enrollment numbers (for post- secondary options) and Saskatchewan salaries, occupation details, and the likelihood of employment in the future (for occupation options).
Employers are invited to enroll on the site. Any user on the site can search employers from the province learning more about them, where they are located, and how they are willing to interact with future potential employees in the province. This provides a way for users of the site to get details about employers either by name, by region of the province, or by industry. If for example, someone wants to see all of the enrolled employers in the province whom are part of the mining sector, a couple of clicks and the list is provided. Over time, additional functionality is planned to further connect employers with potential employees in specific and secure ways.
There is much more to come with SaskCareers.ca. Support for teachers, parents of students, for mature job seekers who are looking for their next career, career advisors and much more. Tools to support career learning like resume builders and financial planners are on the design block.
The SaskCareers project has been technically challenging and tremendously rewarding. ESTI has been privileged to be part of the team by providing Technical Project Management and Analysis, Technical Infrastructure expertise including backend design, implementation and integration services, and general day to day support assistance. We wish to congratulate Janet Uchacz-Hart, the Executive Director of SIEC, and her amazing team in bringing the SaskCareers web system to life.