“The cool factor of being able to go to college provided significant buy-in and engagement for my students.”
Adam Outhwaite is a Careers Teacher with the New Westminster School District. His school Administrator introduced him to the Reboot Plus program offered through the Training Group at Douglas College. “Having limited familiarity or absence of role models with a post-secondary experience can be a significant barrier to students,” he says. “Having students exposed to a campus environment went a long way in helping students increase comfort levels and experience meaningful integration.”
Catching Students Before they Fall and Giving Them Support Graduating High-school
Students are recruited to the Reboot Plus program through high school teachers and school counsellors who have a rapport with them. This intervention is intended to add a layer of support to catch young , marked as unlikely to graduate, before they fall through the cracks. It works to re-engage them in education and skills development by supporting them to explore their interests and abilities and matching careers.
Enrolling High School Students into a College Program
Douglas College is conveniently located in New Westminster, making it easy for students to travel to the campus for the program. Students enrolled in the program become students at Douglas College; they receive student cards and have full access to the college. The program provides specific training and skills development through workshops and classroom activities; exploring education, careers and jobs of interest while doing activities focused on self-examination of personality and skills. “The real-world connections that are created with post-secondary institutions are practical both in terms of students’ increased understanding of the functioning of the institutions as well as eye opening for those who may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of entering an unfamiliar working space,” says Outhwaite.
Connecting Students with Mentors
Students of the program are matched with four to seven professionals working in careers of interest identified by them. Nearly 200 professionals, ranging from auto mechanics to health care workers, to game designers, to engineers, have volunteered their time to give students deeper understanding of different careers. Outhwaite found that the students who have attended the program were able to find help in focusing on a career path by learning, firsthand, what a desired career looked like. Many of his students are now enrolled at Douglas College. “For my part, as a teacher, I want students to have a sound understanding of the foundational skills that will help them experience success in post-secondary life. From college admission, to financial literacy, to pre-employment skills, Reboot Plus has helped my students meet these goals.”