PHOTO : FLICKR / VANCOUVER FILM SCHOOL that we ’ ve been wrestling with for the last five years , for sure , but it probably started a bit longer ago than that . But the last couple of years , the whole pandemic situation has somehow made this even worse .”
While says that going back a decade or more , the challenge was usually finding enough internship and entry-level employment opportunities for all the students they had . But now , in recent years , that has reversed . “ Now , what we ’ re trying to do is make the students ready for taking , and more importantly , keeping the great opportunities that we have ,” he says . “ We ’ re now in a situation where we have far more employers than we have graduates to take those positions . And it ’ s not because all the graduates are fully employed , either . It ’ s because there ’ s a good chunk of young people that just don ’ t seem prepared to start a full-time career . And I mean , just anecdotally from our own lives , we all know other people that are in management or HR and this is something that seems endemic , because younger people are just less and less prepared to adapt to the expectations of a fulltime career and what that looks like .”
To be clear , While is not blaming today ’ s young people for being lazier or more entitled than past generations . Rather , he believes the public school systems , particularly high schools , are doing a poorer job of instilling realistic real-world expectations in students .
“ In the last , probably , five to seven years or so , the thing that we started seeing was , it wasn ’ t just the bottom of the class that was harder to place , it was becoming higher and higher up . So , we ’ re in the new situation where we ’ re looking at some of the people that are in the top 10 who are also becoming harder to place . It ’ s not because they didn ’ t have the skill set , or they didn ’ t do the work , or they didn ’ t understand what was necessary . It was because they had these really unrealistic expectations of what success was ,” While explains . “ So , when they are already successful and in the [ job ], you ’ re on the path and all you have to do is just put in the work ethic and the diligence and the effort that you put into school and you will be rewarded and you will reach your goal . Problem is that they see the goal as something that should be instantly attainable .”
Of course , everyone with any kind of work experience knows that success , however you define it , is not instantly attainable , especially at the very beginning of any career .
The OIART faculty says employers have been noticing the same thing , and it ’ s become apparent in subtle ways .
“ One of my favourite questions I always get whatever I ’ m a reference for a student is , ‘ What did they do when the content was boring ? If they were if they were here for Mark Vogelsang ’ s course , then what did they do in your course when they weren ’ t really interested in the subject matter ?’ It ’ s such a telling question about what are they going to do with the mundane stuff , right ? That ’ s what the employers have flagged ,” adds Taleksi .
I asked the guys at OIART for an example of the ideal type of student who has thrived recently , and the first person they mentioned was a 2021 grad named Janet Pascual , who after graduating from OIART , returned to her home city of Los Angeles to take a job with Riot Games as an associate sound designer . It ’ s no coincidence , though , that Pascual ( now 30 ) was older than most of her classmates , and had plenty of schooling and life experience behind her .
“ I think young people – and I say this as a person who still remembers being at that age – when you first come out of high school , it ’ s like , ‘ I ’ m going to college , I ’ m going to get a job , I ’ m going to get married , I ’ m going to have family ,’ and they think that by saying these very vague goals , that they ’ re automatically just going to happen . But I think they actually forget , it ’ s like , ‘ Okay , but what do you want to major in ? What do you actually want to go work for ? Why do you want to do that work ?’” Pascual tells Professional Sound . “ I always saw this as a young person , and so , I was okay with taking a very long dirt path that is not fully paved yet . So , I went to a trade school before [ OIART ], kind of testing out web design and interactive media . I went to community college here [ in L . A .] and studied , basically , every type of class that I was remotely interested in to see if there was something that actually made me
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