North Okanagan-Shuswap School District recognizes the need to provide students with meaningful, hands-on and engaging career explorations throughout their educational experience. Over the years we have started to recognize that career development needs to happen before students enter high school.
As a result of this, the school district is continually exploring new partnerships and ways to engage students throughout their time in school. The school district’s career program infrastructure provides students, parents, employers and community members with access to career co-ordinators and clerks at every secondary school.
More and more, school staff are getting visits from potential employers looking for students with skills to hire and/or apprentice as well as parents interested in learning more about the suite of ‘Dual Credit’ programs the district offers.
‘Dual Credit’ programs help students get a “head start” on post secondary career choices including opportunities in the trades, post secondary technical training, and a variety of job ready certificates. These opportunities help students be successful, get advanced recognition and perhaps apprenticeships for the work they are already doing! The best part is that most of these opportunities are tuition free and students may receive dual high school and college credits, as well as Industry Training Authority Level 1 credit in most trades courses.
Youth WORK in Trades and more!
Career preparation, secondary school apprenticeships (Youth WORK in Trades), and transition programs (which combine secondary and post-secondary courses in a range of applied technology and trade areas) are all career education options students can take advantage of if they choose to apply. For example, several Youth TRAIN in Trades programs are currently offered by our district.
These programs are designed for students who wish to earn credits towards both graduation and Level 1 Apprenticeship Technical Training credentialed by the Industry Training Authority of British Columbia. They are open to secondary school students (Grades 11 or 12) from any secondary school in District #83. Students enrolled in these school programs will also be registered as trainees with the Industry Training Authority (ITA). Current opportunities in our district include:
• Automotive Collision Repair (Autobody)
• Automotive Service Technician
• Professional Cook 1
• 4th Class Power Engineering (Safety Authority recognized)
• Programs at the Okanagan College Salmon Arm/Vernon Trades Campus (Welding Foundations, Residential Construction, Electrical Foundations and Plumbing Pre-apprenticeship).
•Many of the trades programs offered at Okanagan College (Kelowna), Thompson Rivers University (Kamloops) and other post secondary institutes in the province are also available to students (i.e. heavy duty mechanics).
Also, students that work with a qualified trades person are able to attain high school credits, begin their apprenticeship in high school as well as get the opportunity to qualify for a $1,000 scholarship. The Youth WORK in Trades program is a great way for students to ‘earn’ while they ‘learn’.
Explore and increase awareness
Returning to Salmon Arm Secondary – Jackson Campus is the Explore A Trade program. The intent of this program is to expose students to a variety of trades so that they are able to make educated decisions as to which trade they would like to pursue at a deeper level. For example, students are exposed to plumbing and pipefitting before making the commitment to partake in six months of training at a post secondary institution. Okanagan College’s ‘Gateway’ Program (similar to Explore A Trade) will be offered at A.L. Fortune Secondary to provide students with a similar experience. These programs are available to students throughout the district.
To raise awareness about career options, students have the opportunity to engage in career spotlight sessions, job shadows with employers, visits to local industry and by partaking in presentations at their school. Spotlight sessions take a particular career area and feature many of the job opportunities in that career field. At the spotlight session students get an opportunity to meet people actually working in the field, learn about educational opportunities, and talk to organizations in that career area.
District elementary school teachers were encouraged to apply for a $200 trades and technology ‘Make’ grant to promote hands-on activities in their classrooms. The Elementary ‘Make’ Grant facilitated a wide array of students experiences this past school year.
With the support of creative teachers, support staff and parents, students in K-5 classes were able to use a variety of hand tools and supplies (PVC piping, wood etc.) to “make” stuff!”
Students created bird houses while others used measuring tapes and levels to practice math skills. Another school built musical instruments. The intent of the grant is to provide teachers with the opportunity to develop activities or spaces where students would have opportunities to create, invent and apply their learning.”