Blog provided by Career Trek.
Career Trek’s M-Power program supports young mothers between the ages of 15 and 25. Whether they are engaged in school, work, or are staying home with their child, simply being a mother at a young age can make high-school graduation, post-secondary education, and labour market participation more challenging. M- Power aims to give moms the opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers, develop 21st-century employability skills, and consider different pathways to employment. Focusing on career exploration helps participants identify their likes and dislikes, better equipping them with the tools and resources they need to explore any number of education or training programs and plan for their future careers with confidence.
Career Trek’s M-Power program also creates opportunities for participants to connect with people in business and industry, many of whom are women who share the successes and challenges they’ve faced in their own careers, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Career Trek works collaboratively with the mothers so they can seize the opportunity to sample a broad range of occupations in key industries such as health care, entrepreneurship, technology, trades, natural resources, and the humanities. This opens participants up to self-discovery, career options, and empowerment. The session curriculum is designed to increase their understanding of career choices and pathways, identify their strengths and interests so they can set career goals that are suited to them and their families, and build the confidence and skills needed to start their own career journey. By the end of the program, participants will have set important education and career goals as well as developed plans for the future.
With more than 80% of M-Power program participants identifying as Indigenous, Career Trek is working to incorporate land-based learning into the program, consulting with Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members to ensure that both the content and delivery is accurate, engaging, and culturally appropriate. Additionally, the program is reflective of the needs and opportunities unique to participants’ home communities. This means that while the M-Power program has the same objectives no matter where it’s being run, the lessons, activities, and speakers may look different in each community.
M-Power brings young mothers together in a way that enables them to build a community of their own, where they can share with, and learn from, each other. When the program is held in-person, Career Trek provides wraparound supports, including transportation to and from the program, onsite child-minding, and a shared meal. While the mothers are learning together, their children are in their own sessions, enjoying age-appropriate career exploration through vocationally themed toys, games, and literacy activities.
In the 2017/2018 school year, Ashley Lynes completed Career Trek’s M Power program. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:
“When I first started the M-Program, I had no clue what I wanted to be. I struggled between not knowing if I wanted to go to post-secondary or if I didn’t and what I would take if I did go. I was overwhelmed with the options and with the lack of understanding how everything worked. This program showed me so many options, options I didn’t even know existed. It helped me truly try and decide and point me in the direction of where my heart wanted to go. They taught me how to apply, the supports I can use and gave me the courage to do it. It took me some time but I am now going back to school to study science and I aspire to be a Biologist.”
“[M Power] was one of the best programs I have had the opportunity to attend. The people, the activities and the support was more than I ever thought it would be. It helped me to get to where I am today and helped me view where I wanted to be in the future. I feel like I’d be much more lost if I hadn’t taken the chance on this program.”
Through M-Power young mothers are empowered to envision and take steps toward building a better future for themselves, their children and their communities as a whole. With the support of Career Trek young mothers are on the path of becoming their own education and career champions.
For more information, please contact Tanya Regehr, A/Manager Youth Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org