Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia should create 'gap year' program, teach work ethic in school: task force

A task force wants the Nova Scotia government to try new things to ensure young people have a better chance at landing a good job. That includes teaching elementary students basic customer service skills.

Group concerned about significant dropout rates at universities and colleges

Nova Scotia should create a 'gap year' program, teach work ethic in school, says a provincial task force. (iStock)

Nova Scotia students should learn about work ethic, etiquette, responsibility and receive basic customer service training starting in Grade 4, a provincial task force report recommends.

The recommendation comes as a result of discussions with employers who raised the issue with the Transition Task Force, which released its report Tuesday.

"That was part of the discussion around the table from the business sector," said Andrea Marsman, who represented the Black Educators Association on the committee.

"There are issues around deadlines and attendance and work ethic. They were saying that over the past several years they've seen a decline in respect for those particular principles of work ethic."

Credit for 'gap year'

The task force has also suggested the provincial government set up a "gap year" program designed to give those who want a break after high school a chance to get hands-on, job-related skills or simply life experience. And some of that experience might be worth a college or university credit.

In all, the task force made 15 recommendations. All are designed to give young Nova Scotians a chance to get the training or education they need to get a meaningful job.

Dropout rate 

The provincial government is worried about the number of people who have dropped out of high school or failed to complete their college or university studies.

According to the report, only four in 10 university students completes their degree within four years. Thirty per cent never complete their university studies at all. At the community college level, 32 per cent don't come back after their first year of study.

Fees to graduate

At the high school level, about five per cent of students drop out in grade 11. High school dropouts are twice as likely to be unemployed in Nova Scotia. For those who abandon college or university, the unemployment rate is three percentage points higher than the rest of the province. 

Although there are programs designed to help people who have dropped out graduate, some of those courses charge a fee. The task force is urging the government to remove any barriers to completing or upgrading high school.


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