Students at Summerland Secondary School are learning job skills through a school work experience program.
Charles Lay, the teacher coordinating the program, said between 140 and 150 students from Grade 10 to Grade 12 have been in the program this year.
Those in Grade 10 work a 10-week term or a full semester, while those in Grades 11 and 12 work for the full 20 weeks.
Students are at a workplace for one period each school day.
The workplaces include tire and automotive businesses, restaurants and coffee shops, hair salons, manufacturing businesses, grocery and retail stores, professional services, churches, the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and the Summerland Museum.
Before beginning the work experience, students prepare their resumes and cover letters and meet with the employers.
At the workplaces, they learn job-specific skills which can help them if they choose to follow up with the work after graduation. After the work experience program, some students have found permanent work with their employers.
“It’s a really unique program we have in Summerland,” Lay said.
Employers say they can see the benefits of the work experience program.
“It’s a good thing for kids to get hands-on experience in the workplace,” said Brian Tameling of Big O Tire.
Jason Corday, principal of Summerland Middle School, said those doing their work experience at the school were also former students.
“It’s a wonderful thing to see the kids come back and see how they’ve grown,” he said.
Those working at the middle school are involved with all middle school activities including Banner Mania and possibly some school field trips. Corday said this allows them to get the full experience of working at the school.
“It’s also nice for the teachers to have an extra set of hands to help out with the students,” he added.
Parker Karnish, a student taking his work experience at the Summerland Review, said the program is a good way to learn about a potential career. “I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “You get experience in what you may want to do for the rest of your life.”
Lay said the many participating employers have helped to make the work experience program a success.
“The program runs on the good will of the businesses,” Lay said. “We’re so appreciative of what they are doing.”