A student at Bev Facey was one of 40 Albertan students to attend the 2022 First Minister's Youth Council meeting earlier this month.
Liam Cadieux, a grade 12 student, was selected to be a member of this year's council that focuses on allowing students across the province to put their own input into how they are taught.
Cadieux first heard about the opportunity through a friend and was interested in having his voice heard.
“I hadn’t seen an opportunity like this before for high school students,” said Cadieux. “The ability to contribute in a concrete way, with the possibility of tangible changes coming from the Council, seemed really exciting."
"Generally, the people who vote on and make education policy are not the students directly affected by these decisions. Because of this, having direct student perspectives provides valuable insights that would otherwise be missed.”
Cadieux does possess a unique experience as a student. Unlike most, he has been through just about every type of education that is available in Alberta.
"I've been online home-schooled, traditionally home-schooled, and public schooled so I think that allows me to bring a diverse perspective that would be useful on [the Youth Minister's Council]," said Cadieux.
Cadieux will attend three meetings with the council over the course of the school year. The first meeting happened earlier this month, from October 14 to 17, and focused on career education.
"We looked at registered apprenticeship programs and the CALM curriculum," said Cadieux. "How can we improve those [programs] to prepare Albertan students to step into the workforce."
One of the main things Cadieux focused on at the meeting was figuring out more career supports for students interested in more academic subjects.
"It can be easy to step into an apprenticeship when you are still in high school," said Cadieux. "If you're more inclined in the sciences or the arts it can be difficult to find career experience in high school in a field that you're interested in and want to step into."
Coming out of the meeting, Cadieux says the biggest thing he came out of the meeting with was a better understanding of how the province's education system works.
"The biggest thing I took away was just how large our education system really is," said Cadieux. "It's really easy to say, 'why isn't this happening or 'this is taking too long' with this issue and that issue, but once you take a step back and realize how massive of an operation Alberta education is, it puts it into perspective."
The topics for the next two meetings, which are expected to take place in January and May of next year, are not yet known. Despite that, Cadieux still has a few things he would like to discuss.
"I feel like we focus a lot on history or political science in our social studies curriculum and that leaves a lot of our students not able to experience other social sciences like psychology and more in-depth history," said Cadieux. "What I'm really passionate about is expanding options in the curriculum so it can fit each and every student."
Ayden Carrier-Island, a grade 10 student at Fort Saskatchewan High, was also chosen to be a member of the 2022 council.