New grant helps school districts connect students with their future

British Columbia students will get some help exploring their options for high-tech and trades training, thanks to $550,000 from the Province of B.C. to launch the Shoulder Tappers program in 22 school districts throughout the province.

The Shoulder Tappers program enlists career co-ordinators or recruitment specialists who work closely with students to help them connect with trades and technical training as well as on the-job experience. Each of the 22 school districts will receive $25,000.  “These grants will help districts implement Shoulder Tapper programs that can point students to the path forward and connect them with invaluable training, mentorship and career exploration,” Mike Bernier, Minister of Education said.

Co-ordinators help mentor elementary and secondary school students and facilitate student access to technical, academic, and vocational courses in industries as diverse as aircraft engineering, heavy-duty mechanics, information technology, and early childhood education. The co-ordinators also work closely with employers, the Industry Training Authority and the CES Career Education Society to connect students with opportunities.

In December, the Province announced a similar program worth $5 million for 15 districts in northern B.C. in partnership with Northern Development Initiative Trust. Funding support from Northern Development allowed the Ministry of Education to extend the program to more districts this year.

skillsforjobsblueprint

The Province launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint in April 2014 to re-engineer education and training so British Columbians are first in line for careers of tomorrow. The Shoulder Tappers initiative helps government meet this goal.

Over the next three years, new K-12 curriculum is being phased in with new standards in mathematics, sciences, and applied design, skills and technology. It supports opportunities for students to develop the problem-solving and creative thinking skills they need for success in B.C.’s tech sector.