A small but growing group of School District 69 (Qualicum) students are completing their high school education in university.
Erin Murray, Ariel Bruhn and Maclean Lintott told a recent Board of Education meeting about their experiences in the district’s dual credit program.
About 17 graduating students are currently enrolled in full-time Vancouver Island University trade and technology programs — earning Grade 12 credit and their first year of VIU credit.
Bruhn is taking early childhood education at VIU and said she already has four job opportunities waiting for her, “the field is screaming for people,” she said.
Talking excitedly about the career she is studying and earning high school credit for, she said she has a 96 per cent average and is on track for a provincial academic achievement award.
Lintott agreed that starting trades training while still in high school has helped him focus and said a lot of his friends in regular Grade 12 classes have a lot of time to skip school and goof off, which he learned quickly he was too busy to do in his auto service technician program.
Studying a hands on trade helps him buckle down for the work, he said adding that he used his new skills to win first place in the province at the recent Ford Auto Skills Challenge with partner Dusten Miller.
Murray, studying applied business technology, is thinking about working in a law office, but isn’t certain, which isn’t a problem according district career education co-ordinator Stephen Stahley.
“Whether or not students even work in that trade, it’s just a way of putting more tools in their toolbox of skills when they leave high school,” he has previously said, pointing out students often get inspired by having a concrete goal and the possibility of making good money soon after school.
He said they expect about twice as many students in the program next year and that it will keep growing.
In Powell River, a model for this district’s dual credit program, a quarter of the students graduate with trades credits.
“Thank you very much for paying our tuition,” Maclean said in closing.
Contact your local school’s career centre for more information.