Forty eight students from Port Colborne High School can be found all over our community during the school day.
Whether they are assisisting patients at the Welland Hospital, welding at Oskam Steel, or preparing your lunch at The Smokin’ Buddha, the PCHS students are working hard to gain experience in a career they may possibly pursure in the future. Shawn Coers, Co-op teacher at Port High, says the students are gaining real life experiences in the workforce throught the co-op program.
“Each student is unique and has different interests” Coers said. “Some are in Retail, others are working in an office environment or a vetrinary clinic. It gives students an idea of what to expect after school ends.”
PCHS’s co-op program is an elective credit course at the school. Before participating in the program, students are intervied to determine their campatibility with a local company. Students are then trained in all the facets of applying for employment. “For many students it is the first time that they have been interviewed.” Coers said. From there, every attempt is made to to partner them with a busienss or organization in the community that meets their aspiration or passion in life. The student earn credits while on placement. Co-op placements typically last for one semester either in the morning or afternoon.
Popularity in the program has increased in recent years. “We would never let our teenager buy a $40,000 car without test driving it first, but we often let them enter post-secondary institutions without first test driving that career.”
There is also a benefit for co-op employers. Co-op is a cost effective solution to recruiting, training and retaining young workers. “The number of students hired, whether it be part-time, full-time or as an Apprentice increases each semester.” Coers said. “The current CEO of General Motors started out as an 18 year old co-op student, so you never know what may happen when these students are given an opportunity!”
The next crop of students will be entering the program in September. Any company interested in hosting a student can contact Coers at Port Colborne High School. 905 835-1186, or email [ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ]email@example.com.