Co-operating with the Future

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Debra and Janette (Grade 12)

Co-operative Education prepares students from Garden Valley Collegiate, Winkler, Manitoba for the future. Students discover what jobs they are suited for and enjoy. As well businesses, and parents gain a lot from the program. Businesses get to see the work of a prospective employee, while parents are glad to save money and see their child experience the working world.

GVC students are gaining experience through the Co-operative Education program by working in the community. Students get a first hand look into possible career choices allowing them to discover if they wish to pursue a job in that area. This in turn can save them from spending money on education in a field they may not enjoy. Experiencing the world of work and discovering the skills needed are also benefits of Co-op Ed.

Parents find the Co-op Ed program a great advantage to their children, because it teaches their child good work values and ethics. They are also glad that they do not have to spend money on education that in an area their child may not enjoy.

Businesses in Winkler and surrounding area enjoy the opportunity to "test drive" a prospective employee and see what the upcoming labor pool has to offer. These are reasons why approximately 85 per cent of Co-operative Education graduates in Canada are employed in a position related to their placement.

The Co-operative Education program consists of on-the-job training as well as class sessions. The first two to three weeks are spent in class learning work ethics and valuable job skills such as writing resumes and cover letters. Students are at their job sites every day except for Wednesday afternoons which are reserved for in class lessons. During this time the class reflects on their week at work and find out how others are feeling about their placements.

The Co-operative Education program has been in GVC since 1989. Garden Valley Collegiate Co-operative Education teacher Harv Giesbrecht says that his "goal is to someday have all the Senior Four students at GVC enrolled in this program or one similar to it".

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