Career and Vocational Skills

Photo shows two teachers and a student focused on braille materials on the table in front of them.

Image shows a logo of a briefcase.When most people think about the word ‘career’, they think ‘paid work’. Career and vocational education have a broader scope in their approaches. Career and vocational education strive to help students become aware of the possibilities for life after school. For some students that might be going onto post-secondary education, for others it might be volunteering, raising a family or maintaining a home. Career and vocational education skills include:

  • Being aware of personal strengths and interests
  • Developing and reflecting on personal competency
  • Exploring possibilities after graduation related to education, work and personal life

Check out the Career and Vocational Skills section in #Outreaching - the blog of the PRCVI Outreach Team.

Connections to the BC Curriculum – Core Competencies

The BC Curriculum emphasizes Personal and Social as a core competency with the goal that all students understand themselves, develop a positive self-identity and self-worth, and understand their roles and responsibilities within society.

The Positive Personal & Cultural Identity Competency Profile identifies three facets related to self-awareness:

  • Relationships and cultural contexts
  • Personal values and choices
  • Personal strengths and abilities

The Positive Awareness & Responsibility Competency Profile identifies three facets related to self-awareness:

  • Self-determination
  • Self-regulation
  • Well-being

Career and Vocational Skills - Students with Visual Impairments

For students with visual impairments, learning about the possibilities of life as an adult is important. The general expectation in our society is that adults work to earn an income to support themselves and to contribute to society. For many of us, our self-worth is grounded in what we do as it gives us a sense of purpose.

While sighted students observe people in their communities at work, students with visual impairments might miss this information if their attention is not drawn to it. According to Statistics Canada’s 2006 survey (2007), 49.2% of individuals with visual impairments were unemployed or not in the labour force. Within the same time period, the unemployment rate for the general population was 6.6% (2009).  

To prepare students with visual impairments for a career, they need to have an opportunity to explore opportunities and develop skills. A career and vocational education model developed by Karen Wolffe (2014) includes for school-aged children.

  • Career awareness
  • Career exploration
  • Career preparation
  • Career placement

Examples of Career and Vocational Skills

  • Developing positive work habits
  • Time management and being punctual
  • Following instructions and asking for clarification or support
  • Interacting and communicating effectively with others

Resources to Support Instruction

PRCVI Library Catalogue

Campbell, J. (2002). Careers. Toronto, Ont.: Pearson Education Canada.

Misener, J., Butler, S., Misener, J., & Culverwell, R. (2000). Horizons 2000: Career studies. Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Wolffe, K. E. (1999). Skills for success: A career education handbook for children and adolescents with visual impairments. New York: AFB Press. [Professional Text]

Web-Based Resources

CNIB Foundation - Post-Secondary Scholarships. This site from the BC-Yukon division of CNIB Foundation offers information about a variety of scholarship offered to post-secondary students, as well as who to contact to get additional information.

Learn How to Become. Check out a variety of career options that students might be interested in pursuing. The following fields of study are covered: Arts & Humanities, Business, Computer, Education, Engineering, Medical, Mental Health, Nursing, Physical Health, Public Service/Legal, Science/Tech and Vocational. Retrieved from

Life of a Blind Girl Blog (2019, November 3). Ten tips on employing a person with a visual impairment. Retrieved from

APH Career Connect (2019). CareerConnect for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. Retrieved from

BC's New Curriculum. (n.d.). Career Education. Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

Employability Skills (2019) Conference Board of Canada’s Employability Skills. Retrieved from

Transition Resource Guide for BC Students 

  • PRCVI has assembled a transition resource guide to assist teachers of students with visual impairments in framing the conversation with students and their families around key issues related to post-secondary transition.

Wolffe, K. (2010). BC Vision Teachers' Conference – Skills for Success with Dr. Karen Wolffe. Retrieved from

NEADS (2019). High School Transition Portal. Retrieved from

  • The NEADS website contains many important resources for Canadian students transitioning into the workforce or to post-secondary education. Check out their page devoted to preparing for K-12 graduation.


Kamei-Hannan, C., Brostek Lee, D., & Presley, I. (2017). Assistive Technology. In Foundations of Education (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 611–653). New York, NY: AFB Press, American Foundation for the Blind.

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