Edition: Focus on Skills June 2014 newsletter
While I was at the Skills Canada competition in Abbotsford a few weeks ago, I was introduced to a young teacher from Vancouver named Zoe. Zoe told me how her approach to teaching Planning 10 changed after she had the opportunity to tour some of the ACE-IT programs in her district. Here's Zoe's story, in her own words:
I've been teaching Planning 10 for seven years. Every fall, I do a unit on Post-Secondary Education, and I freely admit that in the past I taught about universities, colleges, and the many programs students could enroll in. I never focused on the trades. Having been a university grad three times over, I felt uncomfortable and simply too uneducated to teach or comment on it as an education or career path. Last year, however, I accompanied Karen Larsen and district administrators, counselors, and teachers on a tour of the ACE-IT programs in Vancouver. I was blown away by the variety and accessibility. I took tons of pictures and video, and asked a lot of questions. I started to educate myself and began teaching about ACE-IT and trades almost immediately after that trip. I now know it to be an important and valuable option for students. I know that my teaching is better and that I am connecting with more students, as this year for the post-secondary research essay, I had about 30 of my 90 students research trades at the college level. This never happened in the past. Students would research university and college programs because that was what I taught. I've done my students and myself a great service by including trades in the course.
This year I've made trades a focus. I attended the Vancouver School Board's evening panel session and info-fair in October. I have been part of a trades inquiry group with three colleagues around the district, and have sent many students (male and female!) to different trades workshops and days that have happened around the district. And most recently, I took 40 Planning 10 students to the Skills BC Competition in Abbotsford. It's been wonderful to get students involved and engaged and I think that teachers around the province simply need more education and practical resources for teaching trades. As soon as I had the background and tools, I was off and running!
Zoe's story illustrates how important it is that all counselors, teachers, and parents have a full understanding of the opportunities available to ALL students. We owe it to these kids to provide them with the information and experiences they need to pursue the path that's right for them.
Enjoy our June newsletter. We'll see you again in September.
Larry Espe, Superintendent of Careers and Student Transitions
B.C.'s Blueprint Offers New Approach to Skills Training
British Columbia is expecting significant growth in the natural resources industry over the next decade, with most major projects located in northern or remote communities. Our province needs to be ready with the skilled workers required to build and operate these projects.
One way we plan to do this is by taking training to where the jobs are. Residents of northern and remote communities, particularly Aboriginal people, need access to training where they live so they can take advantage of opportunities in LNG, mining, forestry, and other growing industries. Providing this access means developing flexible training tools that are capable of overcoming geographic, technological, or other barriers. The new B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is about developing these tools.
Youth Experience Careers of the Future
1. WorkBC Find Your Fit Tour
The WorkBC Find Your Fit Tour was a guided interactive experience complete with iPad kiosks and fun, hands-on activities. Students registered their personal RFID bracelet to initiate an online "passport" then learned about four career areas that will be in high demand in the LNG sector (Construction; Exploration and Production; Operations; and Professional Services). Students then tried their hand at a number of job-related simulations. The Claw Crane was very popular. In this arcade-style game, students moved a claw back and forth in an attempt to grab a prize. This game simulated the motor coordination, manual dexterity, and spatial perception needed by heavy equipment operators. Hit the Road was another favourite activity. Here students tested their vision, timing, decision making, and attention while driving — kind of important stuff if you plan on being behind a wheel for a living.
Visit the WorkBC website for information on Careers
2. Hands-on Workshops
Students took part in a number of exciting, interactive workshops at the conference as well. These workshops, hosted by BCIT, Skills Canada BC, and FortisBC, included a team skills challenge, a pipefitting and scaffolding building activity, and operating a crane, excavator, and/or welding simulator. Students also walked through a mock LNG plant complete with PLC controllers, automated building controls, and thermal imaging simulators.
3. Trade Show Tours
Students also learned about the depth and breadth of the LNG industry through guided tours of the conference trade show. More than 150 B.C. and international exhibitors were on site.
4. Post-Secondary Fair
At the Youth Experience, students also learned about LNG-related programs offered by B.C. post-secondary instititutions. Reps from BCIT, Camosun College, College of New Caledonia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Northern Lights College, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia, and many other institutions were on hand to answer students' questions.
The Youth Experience was a chance for students to explore some of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in the LNG sector. Did you and/or some of your students attend? We'd love to hear your thought on the Youth Experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to see more photos of the Youth Experience.
More Students Get a Head-Start to Hands-On Learning
For the past few months high school students from School District 63 have been constructing a two-storey building at a private residence in Saanich. Education Minister Peter Fassbender was on site recently to check out their handiwork and to announce a new trades course that will begin this fall (see the Skills Exploration 10-12 story below for details). Five ACE-IT students signed full-time, paid apprenticeships with local employers at this event as well.
Providing more apprenticeship opportunities for B.C. youth is a key government commitment in the recently announced B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. For more information on the Blueprint, visit www.workbc.ca/skills.
Skills Exploration 10-12 is Now Available
Skills Exploration 10-12 is a Ministry of Education authorized course developed in partnership with the Industry Training Authority (ITA). This semester-length course will provide students with valuable skills and hands-on experience in the construction trades, including carpentry, plumbing, and electrical training. At a later date, the course will be expanded to include occupations such as automotive services technicians and other high-demand jobs.
Skills Exploration 10-12 is highly flexible, to provide districts the option to tailor the course to industry needs and opportunities in their area. The idea is to help students make smooth transitions into ACE-IT or an appropriate post-secondary skills and trades program. Check out these links for more information on Skills Exploration 10-12:
2014/15 Provincial Non-Instructional Day
Planning your school Pro-D calendar for next year? Be sure you set aside one of these days for the 2014/15 Provincial Non-Instructional Day. The theme will be Skills, Career Training, and Curriculum Exploration. This broad-based theme will allow all you to plan a day appropriate to your school or school district's needs. Check our website for ideas of what other schools have done and for industry contacts who might be able to help:
Please contact Teresa.McClintick@gov.bc.ca.if you have any questions about the 2014/15 Non-Instructional Day.
Changes to the Industry Training Authority High School Welding Curriculum
If you're a secondary school teacher using the Industry Training Authority (ITA) welding curriculum, please note that the curriculum has recently changed. The main changes are as follows:
- Welder Level C has been replaced with Welder Foundation Level.
- Eight course codes are now available, compared to the previous six course codes. This better represents the time required to deliver course content.
- The course codes are no longer tied to individual modules. This provides more flexibility in program delivery.
To download the new ITA welding curriculum go to:
Applications for 2014/15 Secondary School Apprenticeship Support Funding Close Thursday
The Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) program allows students to earn credits towards graduation and begin an apprenticeship while still in high school. SSA Support Funding is provided by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and is managed by the Career Educators' Society (CES).
If you're interesting in applying for SSA support funding for the 2014/15 school year, please download the application form from the CES website at http://ces.bc.ca/project/best-practices-from-building-capacity-in-ssa-projects/. Funding will be allocated on the basis of total Grade 10-12 enrolment based on the 2013/14 Ministry of Education District Reports, as follows:
- Large school districts: $40,000 maximum
- Medium school districts: $30,000 maximum
- Small school districts: $20,000 maximum
Why Essential Skills Matter in the Trades
To succeed in the trades you obviously need technical know-how. But you also must be solid in the essential skills of reading, document use, and numeracy. Find out more about the importance of essential skills for various professions and take an online assessment at: