The Learning Partnership brings session to Charlottetown

Dave Stewart
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Students want gap bridged between industry and education to be better prepared for life after leaving school

Maria Dalton, right, a Grade 12 student at Three Oaks in Summerside, points out some her ideas to Anastasia Smallwood, president of the UPEI student union, and Gareth Blair, manager of policy and knowledge mobilization for The Learning Partnership, a national charity that supports excellence in public education.

The president of the Holland College student union says students need more help when it comes to making informed choices about their future.

A.J. MacIntyre was one of about 40 students from across the province taking part in The Learning Partnership’s It’s My Future youth consultation session in Charlottetown on Wednesday.

“(We) need to bridge the gap between industry and education and I think the bridge needs to be extended to the students,’’ MacIntyre told The Guardian during a break.

“Students need to know where the jobs are and the skills they need to attain them. That’s our biggest goal here.’’

In collaboration with school boards and community organizations across Canada, The Learning Partnership — a national charity dedicated to building stakeholder partnerships to support, promote and advance publicly funded education in Canada — is giving students a voice in shaping the future of public education through regional consultations with youth.

It’s this charity that created the Take Your Kid to Work Day.

Gareth Blair, manager of policy and knowledge mobilization for The Learning Partnership, said Wednesday’s session posed three questions to the 40 Island students, ranging from Grade 12 to post-secondary levels — how they see their education, where they see opportunities for enhancement to their education and how they feel it’s preparing them for jobs, careers and life after they leave the public education system.

It will all culminate in a national student symposium in Toronto, April 23 and 24.

“How can we better help students choose where they go after school?’’ Blair says. “What we’re hearing is that students want to experience things in high school. They want to get out of the classroom and understand the world.’’

Blair is talking about ideas like putting students in the workplace for a day or a week and job shadow someone so they see what the day-to-day activity involves.

Anastasia Smallwood, president of the UPEI student union, says she’s hoping to pick some hints on how to make students’ transition from high school to university easier.

“I’m hoping to find out what these students feel they need to learn to transition into university and to help within our services back on campus and to see what services we need to be improving on as a university,’’ Smallwood said.

As far as looking ahead to her own career, Smallwood says “it definitely opened my eyes as to what I’m looking for in the labour force.’’

Maria Dalton, a Grade 12 student at Three Oaks in Summerside, already has her immediate future figured out so she was there Wednesday helping others reach their goals.

“Not everybody has the same idea and mindset that I do,’’ Dalton said.

“I’m here to help other people. I want other people to excel.’’

Blair said the hope is to use the data and give students a voice with policymakers.

Organizations: Holland College, The Learning Partnership

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Canada, Toronto Summerside

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