When students have more opportunities to explore their interests and passions, everyone wins.
Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) currently offers its high school students the chance to enroll in dual credit classes (getting high school and post-secondary credits in one class), internships and apprenticeships as a means of figuring out their pathway beyond high school. The division is currently in talks with Red Deer Polytechnic about ways to expand upon these opportunities.
“We certainly, as a school division, and given our proximity to Red Deer Polytechnic, are exploring opportunities to partner further with regard to dual credit and internship possibilities,” said Tim De Ruyck, WCPS superintendent.
De Ruyck said this is all about pathways – where students are going and the best way to get them there.
“Internships are more about working in various fields of study, to explore in a hands-on way what a particular career path looks like,” he said. “What that’s meant to do is to try and avoid a student going into post-secondary thinking they will enjoy this pathway, only to discover it’s not for them. Internships give that exploration ahead of time so they can make better decisions.”
De Ruyck said people hear in the media how short staffed industries are when it comes to red seal-certified workers and the division wants to help students interested in this career path.
“We provide information to students about how they might get credit for high school, but also get their foot in the door working in a particular trade area,” said De Ruyck.
While these programs for high school students – dual credit, internships and apprenticeships – are not new for the division, De Ruyck said they are always looking to expand upon the opportunities available to students.
“From public education perspective, it’s a win win for everyone,” he said. “It’s very known that if a student has a goal, that in and of itself is a motivator. Many students finish high school not knowing what they want to do, or they have two or three ideas, and that’s fine. Some will go directly into the workforce, and that’s fine. But if we, as a school division, can help with that goal setting, then that is a motivator in itself. And not just for employment, but also a motivator to stay in and finish high school.”
While WCPS has been working mainly with Red Deer Polytechnic, mostly due to proximity, De Ruyck said the division works with other post-secondary institutions in Alberta, as well.