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Our graduating high school students and their families have to make a decision: Community College ,University, Apprenticeship or direct entry into the job market
For the bright hard working a high school diploma may all they need to be successful.

An excellent example is Peter Mansbridge who has anchored the Canadian Broadcast Television nightly National Report since 1975. In 2008 he was given an Honorary Degree of Laws by the University of Western Ontario in recognition of his career in broadcasting. I wonder if the faculty of Graduate Studies knew that he dropped out of high school to spend two years with the Canadian Forces (Navy) without receiving his high school diploma?

We all know that Bill Gates the former Chairman of Microsoft is one of the world’s richest men (worth $56 billion dollars). I bet you think that he must have graduated from a prestigious Ivy league university? Wrong. Bill did go to Harvard but dropped out in his second year of university.

With the recent death of Steve Jobs, the former the star CEO of Apple, the world has lost a very talented man. Steve dropped out in 1972 after attending Reed College for one semester to introduce the Apple 11 in 1977. With his creative talents he has changed the digital world and in so doing was worth $8.3 billion US dollars when he died.

London’s own Sam Katz who passed away in 2001 was the “Mayor of Cherry Hill” He had to quit school in grade six. He emigrated to Canada when he was thirty to work as a laborer . Sam never ever learned to read or write well in English. He transformed a garbage dump/swamp on Oxford Street into the Cherry Hill Mall along with 2,300 apartment units.

Sam was a person of integrity who valued his fellow man. His success was due to his very strong work ethic and good common sense.

I am sure that there are thousand of like minded successful people that do not have a post secondary education.

Sure hard to get paid employment in the "glamour" industries: media, politics, advertizing, broadcasting, journalism, fashion, photography after spending four years in university.

The universities do offer up professional four year undergraduate degrees in Business, Nursing, Engineering that lead directly to employment.

The cost of a university undergraduate education that includes residence, books and tuition rings in at $15,200. per academic year. The Canadian Federation of Students stats show that: “the average debt load incurred by university students is $25,000.”

In my opinion a Bachelor of Arts degree is not an automatic ticket to paid employment. The Organization for Economic Development recent data showed that: “one in five of Canadian university grads will end up at the low end of the income scale.”

So what do you do with your three year B.A in Philosophy/Political Science? There is hope: Fanshawe Community College offers up a finishing school for university grads. There are 27 Graduate Certificate Programs of eight month duration that can lead to paid employment.

Leanne Perrault, Manager of Corporate Communications, Fanshawe College, kindly sent along an email indicating which of her college programs address anticipated skills shortages and career demand in the future. “On the list are some of our highest-placing programs that pay well” Check out the web site: www.fanshawec.ca/graduate-employment.

Colleges Ontario Key Performance Indicators showed that Fanshawe College stats in 2009-10 had 84.8% of the graduates who completed on average two years at the college were working directly related to their education six months after leaving the school.

Apprenticeship programs offers up skills training in the trades for those who enjoy working with their hands .We have an ageing population of carpenters, electricians, painters, steam fitters, auto mechanics carpenters, masons plumbers who are nearing retirement age. Excellent wages along with a sense of satisfaction for a job well done awaits those who enter the trades.

The university applications ($125.for 3 choices) are now available on line www.ouac.on.ca The deadline is January 1 and the offers of acceptance is June 1

Community College applications ($95, for 5 choices) www.ocas,ca are available on line October 31 with deadline February 1/ and offers of acceptance May 1.

Folks, please take the time to help your son/daughter to make wise choices regarding their future.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com