The folowing article was published in the Lethbridge Herald on October 23, 2013
At one time there was truth in the saying, “Work hard and you will find a good job!” However, in today’s world, working hard, although a desirable skill, does not ensure our students a good job and a self-sufficient future. Today, schools must provide multiple pathways to success that allow student transition to university, college, trades and directly into the world of work.
Recently the Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimated that more than 500,000 postsecondary graduates will be working in low-skilled jobs by 2016, while 1.5 million skilled jobs will go unfilled. School systems must be part of the solution to address the need of skilled labour in the coming years. High schools within Holy Spirit Catholic School Division are ensuring this pathway to success for students is well established as a priority by the development of a strong off- campus education program. Off-campus education plays an important role in assisting students’ transition into the work force and post-secondary education while attaining their high school diploma. These programs facilitate partnerships between students, school, post-secondary institutions, business, industry and community members and they allow students to explore and expand their career interests and aptitudes in meaningful work situations.
An exciting avenue for high school students to enter the world of trades is through the popular Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). RAP provides opportunities for high school students to earn credits towards their high school diploma while accumulating hours towards their first year apprenticeship in one of Alberta’s designated trades. They spend part of their year in school completing graduation requirements and part in industry as a registered apprentice. As a RAP apprentice, the student gets a realistic look at the work world, learns employability and the hands-on skills required in the industry. In addition to earning a wage, a RAP student may earn up to 40 high school credits, including four 30-level 5-credit courses, towards their high school diploma and up to 1000 hours towards an apprenticeship.
Given the high demand for skilled trade workers, the future in these career fields looks very promising for students who choose this pathway. It is important for schools to offer this type of programming and provide potential employers with an opportunity to find quality young employees. Holy Spirit Catholic Schools believes in multiple pathways to success and off-campus education is one of the many for our students.