Future to Discover

New strategies to improve post-secondary access and enrolment

Student and counsellor

While cost is one factor that prevents many young Canadians from pursuing a post-secondary education, poor information and a lack of family or community support also hold students back from realizing their potential.

With that in mind, approximately 1,000 students at 21 Manitoba high schools are participating in a new pilot project to help them connect their passions and strengths with post-secondary learning opportunities.

Future to Discover (FTD), a joint initiative of the Government of Manitoba and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, is an innovative educational pilot project with two primary and interrelated goals: in the classroom, FTD unfolds in a series of activities that help students understand not only the range of occupational and post-secondary choices, but also how to make meaningful decisions about their futures. In the background, researchers are examining the pilot project to determine its effectiveness in encouraging students to pursue post-secondary learning.

“FTD recognizes that career planning is a crucial life skill,” says FTD facilitator Larry Gagné, a specialist in career development with 33 years of experience as a guidance counsellor and teacher. “It helps students determine what motivates and excites them—and what will keep them going.”

Support where it’s needed most

Future to Discover addresses challenges facing young people in their pursuit of post-secondary learning, and offers extra support to students from low-income families and those whose parents were least likely to have continued studies after high school.

“FTD’s central component is an enhanced career-development program designed to overcome barriers imposed by lack of knowledge about post-secondary education,” explained Connie Korchak, FTD Provincial Coordinator for Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth.

Promising outcomes

While the final evaluation report is years away, Korchak believes the pilot project will provide clear indications of how Manitoba can better spend education dollars to ensure the greatest impact.

“For me, this project is about helping students develop the skills they need to continue past high school,” said Korchak. “The benefits of doing so are twofold.  By empowering students to make their personal choices, they are more apt to succeed in their planning and goals. While this empowerment will directly benefit them, their actions will also positively impact our school system, our province and our society.”