Lift Off to Higher Education

Lift Off to Higher Education is a free, interactive online program that supports students in grades 6, 7 and 8 in identifying their interests and skills, and introduces them to various pathways of education. Also included in all programs is information on financial literacy and how it impacts students’ futures.

The Lift Off program is delivered by video presentations, accompanied by workbooks and independent activities for students, with seven to 10 modules per grade. Lift Off supports guidance counsellors, classroom teachers, special education teachers, and administrators as they present ideas for career planning to their students.

The online program is based on the popular in-person program that Laurier delivered to schools in the Waterloo Region District School Board, Waterloo Catholic District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, reaching more than 44,000 students in 11 years.


The grades 6, 7 and 8 Lift Off program objectives are aligned with the Ministry of Education’s Creating Pathways to Success: An Education and Career/Life Planning Program for Ontario Schools.

The objectives focus on the document’s four areas of learning:

  1. Who am I? (Knowing yourself)
  2. What are my opportunities? (Exploring opportunities)
  3. Who do I want to become? (Making decisions and setting goals)
  4. What is my plan for achieving my goals? (Achieving goals and making transitions)

Running the Program

You can choose to do the programs at any point in the school year, whenever it is most appropriate for you and your students.

You are also free to choose which modules you want to focus on and which modules you do not want to present. It is entirely up to you which activities you want your students to complete, if you want to facilitate the activities online or do some as paper copies, etc.

The programs intended for each grade level are not a prerequisite for one another (e.g. students in grade 8 do not need to have done the program in grade 7).

Please feel free to share the program with any other teachers who would like it, including other schools or school boards.


Grade 6: Introduction to Lift Off

Why do jobs disappear? What jobs will be needed in the future that don’t exist now? What impact will these changes have on your future? These are just a few of the questions that will be discussed in the grade 6 program.

During the program, students will:

  • Determine the connections between what the students are learning in school and its relevance and application beyond the classroom.
  • Build career awareness by exploring jobs of the past, present and future.
  • Explore the possibilities and changes that moving to a senior school will bring.
  • Determine what leadership skills they have and which ones they would like to develop further.
  • Develop skills in financial literacy comparing needs vs wants and introducing skills essential to money management.

Outline of Modules

  1. Introduction – What Is Character?
  2. Jobs Past and Present
  3. Soft and Hard Skills
  4. Jobs of the Future
  5. Financial Literacy, Part 1
  6. Financial Literacy, Part 2
  7. Senior School Video
  8. What is a Leader? – Conclusion

Grade 7: Lift Off Part One

How do our individual skills, interests, values and personality make us unique and how does this knowledge help inform our career choices? This is one of the many questions we explore during the grade 7 Lift Off program.

Students who complete the program will have experience:

  • Determining how skills, interests, values, and personality influence career choices.
  • Analyzing jobs with common attributes.
  • Investigating jobs that are related to specific skills and interests.
  • Developing skills in financial literacy in relation to needs versus wants.
  • Becoming familiar with job interview protocols.

Outline of Modules

  1. Introduction – Who Are You?
  2. Soft Skills and Employment Skills
  3. Skills and Interests
  4. Skills and Interests Continued
  5. Personal and Interpersonal Skills
  6. Choosing a Career
  7. Values
  8. Jobs with Common Factors
  9. Financial Literacy
  10. Getting a Job – Conclusion

Grade 8: Lift Off Part Two

We want to help students and their families understand how a postsecondary education can be achieved.

During the grade 8 program, our facilitators will guide students through:

  • Analyzing differences between postsecondary pathways including apprenticeships, college, direct-to-work and university options.
  • Determining the roadblocks in choosing a career that is a good “fit.”
  • Learning about available funding for postsecondary education including scholarships, bursaries, and OSAP.
  • Working through financial literacy activities that encourage them to focus on saving for the future.
  • De-mystifying postsecondary education.

Outline of Modules

  1. Introduction – Careers and Jobs
  2. Hard and Soft Skills
  3. The 4 Postsecondary Pathways
  4. Pathway Matching Activity
  5. Financial Literacy, Part 1
  6. Financial Literacy, Part 2
  7. Choosing a Career – Conclusion