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Livingstone Range students learning off-campus

Hundreds of students are learning off-campus in Livingstone Range School Division.

Trustees were told 402 students are enrolled in work experience, another 45 are in the Green certificate program and 18 are in the Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Off-campus co-ordinator Rob Charchun appeared as a delegation at the school board’s Dec. 19 meeting at the G.R. Davis Administration Building in Fort Macleod.

“Parents tell me they’re very satisfied with the flexibility that Livingstone Range offers their students,” Charchun said. “We’re very high in our flexibility. Students can be rewarded for learning in a lot of different situations.”

Charchun is responsible for Willow Creek Composite in Claresholm, J.T. Foster in Nanton, F.P. Walshe in Fort Macleod, Matthew Halton in Pincher Creek, Livingstone in Lundbreck as well as Pursuits and the virtual schools.

John Taylor is responsible for Crowsnest Consolidated.

Off-campus courses include work experience, Green ceratiticate, the Registered Apprenticeship Program and career internships.

Off-campus co-ordinators are responsible for recruitment, documentation, safety inspections student readiness, placement protocols, site visits, evaluations and ensuring students are getting proper supervision and that outcomes are being met.

New developments in off-campus learning include student hiring wage incentives, the PCL solar farm near the Travers reservoir and an increase in trades activity driven in part by strong agriculture and commodity sectors.

Trustees also learned the off-campus co-ordinators work closely with career practitioners Christy Bazell and Letitia Kroskery on referrals, student support and career-based presentations.

In his presentation, Charchun told trustees that off-campus students learn in two distinct categories: hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are the hands-on skills directly related to a specific job, including customer service, choosing the right materials and tools, and everyday operations.

Soft skills encompass things such as communication, self-motivation, leadership, responsibility, teamwork, problem-solving, decisiveness, the ability to work under pressure, flexibility and negotiation and conflict resolution.

Charchun praised the employers who agree to take part in off-campus programming in Livingstone Range.

“Little know fact, most work experience students are actually employed at the site where they do work experience,” Charchun said of an added benefit to the program.

The present labour market favours students.

“There is a lot of opportunity for employment,” Charchun said.

The vast majority, but not all, students working off-campus are paid. Students in the Registered Apprenticeship program must be paid.

There are grants available to employers to help with wage subsidies.

Students report to Charchun they enjoy learning as well as the social satisfaction — they enjoy going to work.

“It’s very interesting to see all the partnerships and opportunities out there,” school board chair Lacey Poytress said. “We appreciate the work you’re doing.”