Recent History – 2000
March 3, 2000
By Amanda Myatt, South Peace Secondary School Reporter
Student looking for part-time work in the winter months often find it hard because many local businesses slow down.
And while many students have after-school jobs at restaurants, gas stations, clothing stores, and supermarkets, others want to work in career fields that do not have entry-level positions for them.
So how can South Peace Secondary help these students?
A unique way to find employment and explore a career while still going to school is the cooperative education program. The course has been helping students gain real work experience and career preparation for the past nine years.
“It’s cool,”says Justin Pylatuk, 16, who has a placement at Software Emporium. “It’s fun to learn this way.”
“I just love computers,” he says, adding he would like to pursue a career with computers after graduating. So far he has set up a new laptop computer and installed software during on-the-job training.
This week, 26 students in Grades 11 and 12 start work experience in the community in areas like veterinary services, teaching, forestry, health care, and aircraft mechanics.
They spent the past month developing employment skills and job seeking strategies to prepare for the actual work experience. You need 200 hours of work experience, and other course work, to get eight credits — which is double that of a normal course.
The course also gives special needs students a way to get into the workforce, with support from special education teachers and aides.
While the experience is unpaid, some students who have demonstrated a positive attitude and good work habits are asked to stay on at the job during the summer or after graduation.
Teacher and coordinator Brian Shaw says the course teaches students the importance of being reliable, teaches good work habits, and gives them important experience to put on their resumes, which can be used for the rest of their lives. They also have to learn goal-setting and career-pathing.
He says most employers in Dawson Creek are very supportive of the program, and he does not have many problems finding jobs.
Employers interview students before the placement, and have the right to terminate the work experience during.
“The very few students who exhibit a bad attitude tend to discourage some employers from taking more students,” Shaw says. “However, those employers need to realize that all students are not the same. Most want to work hard and do well.”