Edition: Focus on Skills April 2014 newsletter
Superintendent's Message - April 2014
Last Thursday I joined over a thousand middle and secondary school students at the South Island SkillsBC Competition and Yes-2-It event at Camosun College’s Interurban Campus. This extremely well-organized day allowed students to compete, observe, and try (many for the first time) several hands-on activities/skills.
As I toured the welding shop I stopped at a table displaying tools specific to the welding profession. My eyes were drawn to a very modern-looking welder’s helmet. It was bright red and very high-tech, and actually looked a lot like an NHL goaltender’s mask. Apparently, some of these helmets are equipped with an “auto darkening” feature as well as built-in cooling fans!
The mask made me think … welders today are looking through much different lenses than their predecessors did. It reminded me of how important it is for all of us to view traditional education and career possibilities with new lenses. Students should know about ALL of their options and about the possible pathways to get there. Head AND hands learning needs more emphasis. Supper table conversations need to be better informed. Students – and their parents – need to have more opportunities like the one at Camosun last Friday.
This month's newsletter includes a variety of resources and stories that will help us see through these different lenses. Read on, for example, to learn about a group of Grade 9 girls at the Camosun SkillsBC event who used plasma cutters to carve their names out of steel, and Grade 7's at Fort Langley Elementary who got their first taste using power tools. Meet Janiece, a Grade 11 student from Vancouver, who's taking courses at a different high school in preparation for a career in fashion technology. And check out a new resource from the Industry Training Authority designed to help students match their interests to some possible careers they may not have considered before. There's much more in this issue as well.
The point is, no matter who they are or where they're from, today's students have a wide variety of career options.
Enjoy this issue.
Larry Espe, Superintendent of Careers and Student Transitions
BC Students to Explore Careers at International LNG Conference
BC youth are invited to take part in an interactive career experience at the second annual Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Conference May 21-23 in Vancouver. The Youth Experience portion of the conference is a half-day program where Grades 10-12 students will:
- Learn about liquefied natural gas (LNG) and jobs in this industry;
- Get hands-on experience using heavy equipment and welding simulators;
- Identify career paths that reflect their skills and interests via a WorkBC program;
- Interact with BC post-secondary institutions and explore what programs they have to offer related to the LNG industry.
To register your students for this event please visit http://www.lnginbc-register.ca/youth-registration. Registration deadline is April 18, 2014. Space is limited so registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Province will provide up to $300,000 to help offset transportation costs.
Camosun College Hosts Annual South Island Skills Competition for Local High School Students
The bad weather didn't dampen any of the enthusiasm for the South Island SkillsBC Competition at Camosun College in Victoria on March 28. A range of students from South Island school districts were on site to watch the regional skills competitions, junior skills contests, and some YES 2 IT events throughout the day. Students tried out a number of hands-on activities such as copper pipe soldering, cosmetology, spaghetti bridge building, carpentry, robot sumo wrestling, pipe bowling, and gravity car racing.
One of the highlights of the day was the steel cutting station. Grade 9 girls were given a plasma cutter, masks, gloves, and plate steel and taught how to cut a letter of their name out of the steel. When she was finished and the steel was cold, one young girl shouted out, “WOW, just look when I've made!” Maybe we have a future steel fabricator in our midst!
Kudos to Camosun College for the organization, the student guides, and the great hands-on activities. Students left with pieces of copper pipe, heat-welded plastic fittings, planted conifer seedlings, wooden steps, and their own hand-crafted robots – and perhaps an interest to pursue a career in one of these fields in the future.
For video highlights of the day's events please visit http://youtu.be/R0yjKd1k3aM.
BC's Skills & Careers Snapshot
Check out this infographic for the latest numbers and projections on BC's skills and careers.
Industry Training Authority Launches New Website for Youth
The Industry Training Authority has just launched a new youth website based on the campaign “What are you made of?” Youth select 10 words that appeal to them and 3 trades are presented for them to explore.
The top 30 trades in demand are included on the site with photos, salary, and labour market information. This new site also includes:
- ITA youth programs (ACE IT, SSA, YES 2 IT, The Mentorship Project and Maker Day 2014) explained in simpler language
- Updated and easier to navigate Educators' page with program forms
- Videos stories to showcase the journey from deciding to work in a trade to the experience
Visit http://www.itabc.ca/youth for more information.
BC Education Plan Supplemental Funding to Focus on K-12 Skills Training
A $10.5 million supplement for the BC Education Plan is again in place for 2014/15 to ensure that districts continue to strengthen reading and skills training within the K-12 sector. In regards to skills training in particular, the Ministry would like you to consider the themes “Starting Earlier with Hands on Learning” and “Partnerships with Communities, Industry, and Employers” when planning for skills training, and ensure that the following initiatives are reflected in your district’s programming.
This spring, the Ministry will also be engaging with districts to discuss current skills training initiatives underway, identify areas for improvement, and explore possible options for enhancing skills training across the province.
We encourage career professionals in school districts to approach their superintendents about how they can support these BC Ed Plan skills and training initiatives.
Meet Janiece Lofstrom
When Janiece Lofstrom's career advisor spoke about the Fashion Design Technology program at Eric Hamber Secondary, the Grade 12 student was hooked. This was her chance to take her interest in sewing and fashion to the next level – and on a path to a really interesting career.
Do you know a student like Alyssa who's doing amazing things and deserves some recognition? Share your story with us for a future issue of this newsletter.
Thanks to Karen Larsen, SD #39 Career Education Coordinator, for sharing Janiece's story with us.
What's it Like to be a Geologist?
It's one of the core occupations in the mining industry. In this video from CareerTrekBC, an exploration geologist shows how she examines rocks for mineral deposits and analyzes data about potential sources of minerals. She explains how geologists often work both in an office and in the field. It's a great job if you love to be outdoors!
Visit the CareerTrekBC YouTube channel to see videos about a wide range of interesting BC careers.
"Maker Days" in the Okanagan
The University of British Columbia, in partnership with The Industry Training Authority, piloted 5 "Maker Days" as a way of introducing trades and technology and experiential learning opportunities from Kindergarten to Grade 12. At Maker Days, students and educators are introduced to "making" through small group design challenges that encourage invention, prototyping, and experimenting. Educators are asked to take “making” back to their schools and share it with their colleagues and students.
Here's what happened at two of these recent Maker Days:
- School District 23 (Central Okanagan) held a Maker Day on March 11. 72 educators, representing 40 of the 42 elementary, middle, and secondary schools in the district, attended. 37 schools have since signed up to run their own Maker Day type event with their students.
- On March 13, 2014, the ITA and UBC held the first Maker Day with students in Sicamous. Over 80 youth took part in design thinking and a variety of hands-on trades activities. Check out the YouTube video of this event at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qfSG7yPJ0Y&feature=youtu.be.
Interested in hosting your own Maker Day? The ITA and UBC have created a resource to help you out.
Thanks to Alyssa Grant from UBC Okanagan for this story.
Consider a Career in the Skilled Trades
Across Canada and around the world, skilled tradespeople are in high demand. If you know students who like to work with their hands, see the results of their efforts and are creative problem-solvers, a career in the trades might be right for them.
For more information on the skilled trades and on apprenticeship, visit www.careersintrades.ca.
Teacher 'Seas' Opportunities with Innovative Program
Thanks to teacher Sylvain Chabot, Grades 10-12 Students in Campbell River are getting out of the classroom and learning to fix sailboats in this brand new Nautical Sciences program.
Pizza, Pop, and Power Tools – Trades Rock in Langley
Showing girls that 'Trades Rock' proved popular at Fort Langley Elementary recently. Girls were given new t-shirts and provided safety gear and instruction before they were allowed to try out some power tools.
Minerals Ed Career Exploration Day, Roundup 2014
27 Grade 11 and 12 students from the Lower Mainland recently participated in a career exploration program put on by MineralsEd in conjuction with the Association for Mineral Exploration of BC (AME BC) at its annual Mineral Exploration Roundup Conference. This program gives students a chance to learn about the range of businesses and talented people that are part of the exploration and mining industry in BC. See the March 2014 MineralsEd newsletter for details on this and other education programs.
10 Reasons Why You Should Think About a Career in the Trades
Here are 10 reasons why you should think about a career in the trades, and they all boil down to one thing: Opportunity.
Push to Get Youth into Trades Experiencing Growing Pains
With an expected shortage of more than 30,000 skilled workers, and less than one in 30 high school students entering the trades after graduation, the BC construction industry has been encouraging more young people to enter the skilled trades. However, according to this article, early efforts at engagement have hit a few bumps along the way.
So Long, Glenn, Hello, Janine
Glenn Rowan, our long time careers coordinator, moved to another position in the Ministry recently. He has been replaced by Janine Hannis. Janine has been working for the Ministry since 1999 when she was hired to help develop the Adult Dogwood and take on responsibility for all adult programs. She has since also taken on the alternate education portfolio and is thrilled to now add the Career Education file. Janine's dad and one brother were both electricians and her other brother is a horticulturalist, so she comes from a strong trades family.
Janine looks forward to combining her background of graduation programs with career programs and moving the career agenda forward. If you have any questions for Janine you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calendar of Events
Heavy Metal Rocks
SkillsBC Provincial Competition
Project Heavy Duty
Contacts: Richard Koop, Project Coordinator (250) 261-1456 or Don Goodbun, Industry Consultant (250) 261-0132
Mining for Society Educational Exhibit
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Conference