The Career Exploration Centre (CEC) was one of five facilities officially launched Sept. 27 at an event in the Founding Builders Atrium at SAIT.
The event was held in celebration of SAIT’s entrance into its second century as an institution.
The CEC offers Grade 8 and 9 students the opportunity to explore career choices in a hands-on way, and to have early conversations about what program they want to participate in, said Dr. David Ross, SAIT president and CEO.
“We’re giving students a reasonable chance at starting their career,” said Ross.
According to Ross, nearly half of SAIT’s students come from other post-secondary institutions, which proves they weren’t fully informed, or satisfied with their initial choice in a program.
“[Drop-outs] truly weren’t informed of all their opportunities,” said Ross.
“The Grade 8 and 9 window is critical.”
“This was the first thing that really explained to us that we have to look to the future,” said Jake DeBelser, a Grade 9 student at St. Martin De Porres Junior High School.
DeBelser and his classmates had the opportunity to experience SAIT’s culinary, accounting and broadcast journalism programs during their visit.
Although he hasn’t yet decided which career he’d like to pursue, DeBelser said the CEC program helps the junior high student focus on what’s ahead.
“We can set our sights on going to do that.”
According to DeBelser’s teacher, Charlene Lipoth, homework completion has increased in the classroom.
Some students told her, “the CEC is like a kindergarten play centre, but for teenagers.”
Located on the third floor of the Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre, the CEC gives junior high students problem solving, communication and other skills necessary for the 21st Century, said Brad Donaldson, VP Academic at SAIT.
After an application process, where Grade 8 and 9 teachers present to the centre how they’d integrate the Career Exploration experience into their studies, classes of 28 students are invited to explore simulations of various programs that SAIT offers.
Andrea Jaros, project manager of SAIT’s Youth and Strategic Initiatives, said the main goal of the centre is understanding.
Not only are students, and teachers for that matter, better able to understand why they’re learning certain things in grade school, they also learn how to investigate programs in order to be more certain about what they want to do, said Jaros.
Currently, students only discover a program isn’t for them once they’ve actually enrolled, and then feel forced to drop out. That can leave others who wanted to take that program stuck on a waiting list.
Prospective students can make more in-depth informed decisions when the time comes for them to apply.
The CEC is like a kindergarten play centre, but for teenagers. – Charlene Lipoth
There are currently 90 CEC sessions available to junior high students at SAIT.
The four other facilities unveiled Sept. 27 were The Gene Haas Foundation CNC labs, the Crane and Ironworker Facility, The Tastemarket by SAIT, and the Green Building Technologies Lab and Demonstration Centre.