Career Planning

Involving students with complex needs in career planning and work experience can expand their community presence, social networks, and show their competence in a valued role. In turn, the students are respected by their school and community networks.  Career Education is included in the B.C. curriculum from kindergarten to grade 12, including Career-Life Education and Career-life Connections in grade 10 to 12.  Some of the Big Ideas students with complex needs can actively participate in include career-life choices, cultivating networks, developing a sense of purpose and career-life balance to support their well-being.

Start by considering your students passions, interests and skills when preparing to explore opportunities for a job shadow, volunteering or work experience. Consider asking them and their loved ones “What is their dream?” Students can begin by exploring Work BC’s Career Trek website videos on various careers searchable by interest, skill or geographical location. Then create a plan to support their journey, such as connecting to others who know about the jobs of interest to the student through InclusionBC’s MentorAbility Program. Other career planning learning activities can include creation of résumé and cover letter, development of interview skills, volunteer/job searching and job development. Employment support can look like one-on-one, or on-site job coaching that fades out as the student gain confidence. Planning and collaboration with the career education teacher, and school team, such as the SLP to support with AAC, and OT/PT to brainstorm the student’s access and adaptations, can further support your student’s active participation and competence.

Many organizations in British Columbia offer career planning and work experience support in both stages of exploring careers and planning for careers.

Exploring Stage:

Work BC’s Career Trek Website:

  • Features over 160 short videos showcasing careers across B.C.
  • Search by skills, interests and/or geographical area of B.C. to find opportunities in your student’s community

InclusionBC: MentorAbility

  • National initiative which promotes the employment of people with disabilities in communities large and small throughout all Canadian provinces and territories.
  • Full or half-day mentoring experience in which job seekers with disabilities are matched with individual mentors – to explore career opportunities and what they need to get ahead in their desired field of interest.
Preparing Stage:

Opportunities Fund: BC Centre for Ability (serving the Lower Mainland to Sunshine Coast)

  • Assists person with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment
  • Provides financial assistance for training, self-employment and wage-subsidized employment and adaptive equipment

Neil Squire: Working Together (for Students 15 years +)

Services include:

  • Individualized and group-based learning environments
  • Career and personal development, wellness for work, and job search support
  • Ergonomic and/or assistive technology assessments and solutions
  • Potential wage subsidy
  • Continuous support from our career professionals

WorkBC Assistive Technology Services

Provides equipment and devices to help individuals thrive in the workplace including:

  • Assistive devices, equipment and technology
  • Ergonomic supports (e.g. furniture, lighting systems)
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting and captioning services
  • Communication and hearing devices related to work
  • Workplace access and modification
  • Vehicle modifications

TeenWork (ages 15-19) and AccessWork 19+ (Greater Victoria only)

  • Participant-centred service supports youth in achieving their employment goals
  • Employability skill workshops, free training and certificates: (Serving it Right, Foodsafe, WHMIS, First Aid), participants are paid for their time attending workshops