Occupational Entrance: A misunderstood program?

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Courtney F. (Grade 12)

According to Ms. Anita Dyck, one of the course organizers, Occupational Entrance at Garden Valley Collegiate (G.V.C) is a set of courses tailored to each student that prepares them for work right after high school.

The O.E. program prepares the student for entry-level jobs and helps develop skills needed for living on one's own, including dealing with landlords as a tenant. Although the program is shunned by some students because it does not prepare them for university entrance, it does provide students with a "different kind of confidence." It allows participating students to reach their potential and to be successful within their learning style.

An important requirement of the program is a good work ethic. Occupational Entrance students are expected not only to give 100 per cent effort on the job but also to be dependable. The subjects are "directly applied." This means there is little or no essay writing, since Occupational Entrance employers don't usually require this of the participants.

Teachers working with the O.E. program aim to help the students to reach their full potential. A screening process is used for all students applying for this program. Only students with academic difficulties and those recommended by their previous elementary teachers will be accepted.

Twenty-four students are currently enrolled in the G.V.C. occupational entrance program. Numbers in past years have reached as high as the low 60's. The focus of the course organizers is not how smart students are; rather, it is how they are smart.

Government changes to educational programming are expected to eliminate the O.E. program in the next year.

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