Connecting students with careers

NISS columnist Andrew Mitchell looks at career choices and the Connections program.

One of the hardest decisions a high school student faces is finding an answer to the dreaded question, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Choosing a career that one may be working in for many years can be a daunting task. In order to help students make informed decisions about their futures, North Island Secondary School  now has two different programs available: Connections and the Field Studies 12 course.

Now in its second year, the Connections program focuses on exposing students to careers they may be interested in pursuing after graduation.

Through field trips to local employers, students have the opportunity to learn about different jobs available on the North Island. The program also gives students the chance to see first-hand what the different jobs entail, as well as to meet and interact with people working these jobs.

Connections has run many successful tours to places including the Port McNeill hospital, Orca Sand and Gravel, and West Coast Helicopters. Coming up in February, trips to the Regional District’s Water Treatment Facilities and Strategic Forest Management are planned.

Field Studies 12, a new course at NISS this year, also helps bridge the gap between school and work. Throughout the course, students learn life skills, such as managing finances and writing a resume and cover letter.

A large part of the students’ mark also depends on both a work placement and a community project. For the work placement, a student will be matched up with a local employer suiting their career aspirations, allowing them to job shadow and experience that career first hand.

The community project, another important component of the course, means students must come up with some sort of project or experience that betters either the school or the community at large.

If you would be interested in having the Connections program tour your business, please contact Mrs. Kathleen McArthur, the program coordinator, at kmcarthur@sd85.bc.ca or through the website, www.connectionsniss.webs.com.

Andrew Mitchell is a Grade 12 student at North Island Secondary School and a prize-winning amateur photographer.