Benefits of Hands-On Learning

backpackThere’s been a huge shift in the labour market. It’s likely no different from what the agricultural sector experienced years ago when youth stopped gravitating towards those jobs and turned to the retail/hospitality sector which were closer to home, and not as physically demanding. Patterns are emerging, however, in the labour market where there doesn’t seem to be many youth who want or are available to work general labour and customer service type jobs.

Who claims responsibility for this shift? Are we not allowing our children the opportunity of experience life hands-on? Are current parents cocooning our young people in an effort to protect them from making mistakes? Some say they would rather their kids focus on education, but how can one understand what they are actually good at without hands-on experiential learning?

Life was simple when I was growing up and seemingly based on natural consequences. If I wanted weekend pocket money for gas, clothing, entertainment, I needed to work.  There were no handouts from mom because she had house expenses to cover.

In retrospect, working retail/hospitality in those early days provided me with good training both on a personal and professional level: responsibility, teamwork, time management, problem solving, cash management, customer service, and the understanding of the hierarchy within a business environment which translated into planning for the future (albeit somewhat simplified for the purpose of this piece). How else would these skills have led me to understand myself better, leading me to excel in the area of customer service? That customer service job led to a position in sales which I was even more adept at, which also helped me see that it might leave me stagnant unless I continued my education, which opened up my world.

I’ll put it out there and ask the question; have modern-day parents coddled their kids too much? Could this have contributed to a trickle-down effect negatively impacting  education and the employment fields?

Kym McCreary-Stewart– Kym McCreary-Stewart
Career Consultant Certificate ’09/Writing for Publication ’08
Follow @CESMohawk


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