March 1st, 2024

Let’s Chat: An opportunity for high school students

By Linda Tooth on January 31, 2024.

Through my years working in post-secondary, I have met thousands of students who have come to college directly from high school.

A great deal of students know what their career path looks like and have done very well in their certificate, diploma and degree programs.

Sadly, scores of students come to college not knowing what they want to do and have failed miserably in their courses. That can be quite mentally devastating. I feel for those students and have often wondered why high school is not better at preparing all students for the next chapter in their lives.

I was pleasantly surprised to see two stories in the Tuesday, Jan. 16 issue of the Medicine Hat News that spoke of opportunities for high school students to experience career opportunities in partnership with post-secondary institutions.

The first partnership is with Prairie Rose Public Schools and Medicine Hat College in the creation of the South Alberta School of Trades. Chad Flinn, dean of the School of Trades at MHC, is quoted as saying, “For a long time, there has been a stigma in regards to the trades.”

Hopefully, this collaboration and the creation of a specific school will help to diminish that stigma. Let us be clear, there will always be work in the trades profession. We all need the help of plumbers, welders, mechanics and electricians in our lives, especially when we purchase vehicles or homes.

Girls take note, these professions need more women in them. According to Electrical Industry News Week, “About 5,700 women apprentices were registered in Alberta last year.”

This represents a 20% increase in the last few years.

The second partnership is with Medicine Hat Public School Division. Through Career Pathways, students have three options to pursue while attending high school. Work experience, registered apprenticeship program and dual-credit courses.

SAIT, Olds College, Lethbridge College and Medicine Hat College are partnering with MHPSD to allow students the opportunity to have dual credits awarded for their 30-level courses in high school to courses at the respective post-secondary institute.

Corey Sadlemyer, associate superintendent of learning for MHPSD, is quoted as saying, “There is definitely a changed emphasis provincially around career pathways for students.”

Hallelujah!

For those in high school, I urge you to look at what opportunities are available for you. The transition from high school to adulthood can be rough.

If you have an inkling of what you would like to do career-wise, why not take advantage of what is offered and make that transition a little easier?

Linda Tooth is a communications instructor at Medicine Hat College

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