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The "Advocacy Group, People for Education" is calling on the Ontario Department of Education to end the practice of streaming for students entering grade 9.

In grade 8 the parents are faced with the daunting question if their son or daughter should choose the Applied or Academic Stream? For the most part uninformed parents too often have their children enroll
in the Applied program not knowing the dire consequences of signing on the dotted line.

No chance at a university education or a faint chance of success in a Community College program.
Hard to compete with the University of Western Ontario which is the largest feeder school in London for Fanshawe College.

In the future elementary grade 8 students to be enrolled in de- streamed grade 9/10 English, Math, Science programs and give those in need of help Special Education. Starting in Grade 11 we then we can stream the College level students into co-op skilled programs.

For now my advise to parents: please enroll your teens in the Academic grade 9 program starting in September at Lord Dorchester/Regina Mundi College. Wise choice to keep all the doors open to College, University or an Apprenticeship.

Craig Duncan, Manager of the London East, Canadian Tire, offers co- op placement credits to grade
11-12 high school students who then can earn 4 credits towards their high school diploma.

This week I listened to the Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, speak about the Canadian Economy that for the most part is doing very well. But, "We have a very large youth unemployment problem."

I believe there are solutions to help our young people find meaningful employment. You do not have to
re invent the wheel. Germany has a 3.9% unemployment rate. 60% of the high school grads chose Vocational over an Academic education. There is paid on-the -job training with the apprentices earning 1/3 of the starting wage of a skilled trades workers.

German industry still offers the majority of skilled workers the elusive "Job for life. career." Germany trains 1.5 million people annually: from bakers, car mechanics, carpenters to violin makers. A whopping 90% of the Apprentices successfully complete their 2-3 years of training. Half of the apprentices stay on with the company that initially hired them.

Germany does have an enviable problem: they do not have enough skilled workers to meet the
demands of their booming economy. 30,000 or 2% of possible Apprenticeships placements last year went unfilled.

The employment deficit is due to a declining birth rate. Perhaps that is the reason that the German
Prime Minister, Merkle, gladly took in 1.5 million Syrian refugees?

The Germans long term solution to employment is the poster child example for Europe: a meaningful education and career planning for youth is an investment in the future of the country.

Canadian government/ educators/employers need to look to positive change or lose a generation of youth looking for a reason to feel that they are appreciated. How about giving Canadian employers tax benefits if they offer to provide apprenticeship paid on the job skilled based programs to unemployed youth who want to learn a trade?

So, if you are young person looking for a sense of travel and adventure along with paid employment Germany may be the country of choice to provide you a viable choice until things change in Canada.

Len Lesser is an education/career counselor in Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com