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At 15 did you know what career path to follow? Were you any more enlightened at age 17 or age 20?

If not, you were probably in the same boat as many people your age. Without experiencing a career, how could you know what career would suit you?  Getting experience before making a career decision is a critical factor. But how do you get a foot in the door without having any experience?

Consider Calgary Board of Education’s unique opportunities for high school students that combine paid career experiences with high school/college credits.

The CBE’s pathway opportunities fall into three categories: Exploratory, Internship and Dual Credit. The formula for the CBE’s pathway opportunities is explore, experience and educate equals cash, credits & careers for high school students. 

Explore one area at a time

Do you like working on vehicles? Sign up for an Automotive Exploratory opportunity with Calgary Police Services, where you earn up to six credits and are paid $15 an hour. Other exploratory programs offer diverse career opportunities including; boilermaker, residential construction, cabinet making, heat and frost insulation, floor covering, iron work, pipe trades, theatre and dance.

Explore Multi-Disciplines

Ever wonder if you’d like to go into dairy production, beekeeping or greenhouse production? Sign up for the Multi-Disciplinary Green Certificate, where you’ll participate in an apprentice-style agriculture, food and rural development program. If you prefer computers, or trades, are considering starting a business or an arts-related career, there are programs covering IT Essentials and Networking, Entrepreneurial Artist and Entrepreneurial Trades.

Internships

After completing an exploratory program – or you know the career path you want to pursue – CBE and their partners offer paid and volunteer internships in film, TV & media, supply chain, and educational technology. How does it work? For example; with the supply chain and logistics internship, students work half days, three-to-five days a week and earn credits as well as being paid minimum wage.

Dual Credit

Already decided what you want to do and ready to work on your credentials? Sign up for a dual-credit program with CBE and SAIT or Olds College for more in-depth education in pre-apprentice programs in service technician, carpentry, business administration, pharmacy assistant, kinetic medicine, petroleum field operator or fashion.

How have students done in these programs?

Andrew Dupris, 20, heard about the Registered Apprentice Program (RAP) in high school and wanted to explore carpentry. His RAP coordinator suggested the cabinet making program at the Drop-In Centre. He volunteered 3.5-hours a day and has completed the required hours for his first year and will be a full-time student at SAIT this fall.

“The DI Centre people are great, they are always willing to teach me,” Dupris said. “This is a learning environment that feels more like family.”

A few years ago, Austin Rate, 22, completed the SAIT pre-employment cabinet program but wanted more experience before entering the trade. He connected with the Drop-In Centre Woodworking Shop, took a tour, interviewed for the program and got in.

“SAIT gave me the basics, and the DI Centre gave me the experience of working more hours with lots of different materials in the shop with a journeyman. I can also work in other shops if I want to try upholstery or paints,” Rate said. “The DI Center is a family type atmosphere, everyone is really friendly, and I’m able to go out on installs, deliveries, see warehouse suppliers, work on projects and sell to companies, there is always something different to learn.”

Future plans?

“I want to complete school (in cabinet making), specialize in a job I can do really well, and buy a house,” he said.

For Dupris, Rate and other CBE high school students who have discovered their career paths through CBE’s internship and dual-credit programs, the future looks bright.

For more information visit the CBE website.

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