This month students across the district are participating in Career Preparation programs with numerous businesses across the city. Students learn practical work skills like cash handling, customer service, planning, and problem solving.
Recently, Gladstone Secondary Career Preparation program (CP) students had a unique opportunity to meet with Canadian Tire storeowner Ward Saito, and speak with him about his career path and what he looks for in an employee.
"I started out working part-time, stocking shelves at a Canadian Tire many years ago," said Saito. "Today, I look for employees who are passionate and outgoing. People who are willing to get involved and work hard. The practical skills you can learn, but a good work ethic is invaluable."
Work experience is an opportunity to apply the employability skills students have learned in Planning 10 and in Career Programs in a real work setting, where an employer mentors them. It emphasizes the importance of the code of conduct, safety, teamwork and having a good attitude.
"The goal is to improve student confidence and communication, and to apply the importance of dress, behavior, and etiquette," says Gladstone CP teacher Roxanne Bean. "Students learn the importance of applying social responsibility philosophies like sharing, caring and good work practices."
After their work experience placement, students are evaluated on these soft skills. Students are challenged to think about others and the dynamics of working with others. Through their experiences they learn how to empower others to be the best they can be.
"It does not matter if you are planning to be a doctor, paralegal, actress, teacher, plumber, electrician, or educational assistant, we all have to use these skills every day," adds Bean. "It is wonderful to get 90% in any subject but when you leave school, the students need to have the ability to communicate, manage information, use numbers, think and solve problems, be responsible, be adaptable, demonstrate positive behaviors and attitudes, work safely, work with others, and participate in projects and tasks. Academic subjects are at the core of a Career Program."
Career Preparation experiences also help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety around employment, giving students a better understanding of the workforce and their responsibilities as contributing citizens.