Holland College Blog

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JACK-in-the-Box encourages students to think about careers earlier

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Holland College’s Transitions program, a career exploration program for Grade 12 students, provides hands-on learning in a variety of trades and technology-based programs to help students figure out what programs may be right for them.

Although the program has been a huge success, Transitions Coordinator Joan Diamond was growing increasingly concerned about the shortage of career exploration opportunities for younger students.

“We know that in order to set goals and to be motivated to design career paths effectively, students need to start planning their careers earlier,” she explained. “Many young people disengage from the learning process, others choose not to continue their education after high school, and still others simply drop out.”

Led by Joan, the Holland College Transitions Team came up with a way to encourage Grade 7 students to start thinking about what sort of career they may want to have. The team believes that encouraging the students to explore their career options earlier will keep them engaged in their school work and increase the likelihood that they will be able to make well-informed decisions about their high school courses and their post-secondary options.

“We have found out through our evaluations that our Transitions programs make a lasting impression on students and motivate them to ‘pull up their socks’ and work toward their goals,” Diamond explained. “We hope to be able to get young people thinking that way earlier.”

The tool the team has developed is called JACK (Job Activity Career Kits)-in-the-Box. The plan is to develop kits that are a combination of video instruction and hands-on activities. These kits will make it easy for teachers to deliver trades-related information in an interesting and accurate manner, even though they may not have any formal training in the area. Each kit will contain 10 reusable projects (enough for a class of 30).

A pilot project will be launched in three schools in the New Year. Four trades will be featured in the pilot project: Carpentry; Electrical; Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC); and Wind Turbine Technology.

Holland College Graphic Design students were given the opportunity to develop a logo for the boxes. The winning design is by second-year student Stefan Greencorn. A student from Interactive Multimedia will produce the instructional videos for each of the boxes.

Funding for the pilot project has been provided by the Holland College President’s Innovation Fund, which provides instructors and staff at the college with additional dollars to try out new projects. These pilot projects frequently lead to longer-term endeavours aimed at improving program delivery or enhancing the college environment for students and employees alike.

If, at the end of the project in June, the JACK-in-the-Boxes prove to be effective, the kits could be restocked and sold through the Department of Education, thus making them a permanent resource in Junior High Schools across the Island.

Written by Sara Underwood

December 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Posted in Staff, Students

One Response

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  1. Haha when I read this article initially I thought that the Jack-in-the-Box you were referring to was the fast food restaurant. I was relieved after reading to find out that I was mistaken. Great post and I agree, we should lose the days of broad/general curriculum and start specializing our students early in high school.

    Peter McAteer

    December 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm

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