Rocky View School Division students are now in the second semester of their Building Futures program. The program offers them the chance to learn real-world skills; everything from building a house from the ground up to selling the home.
Building Futures is a program where RVS is partnered with McKee Homes. Students learn the proper skills to help them get a kick start in their construction careers. Grade 10 students will enter this program, but later in their high school career if they choose, they can go on to do a dual credit program with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
Hands-on learning comes as no surprise to SAIT. Currently, close to 30 students are in the program, four of which are girls.
Students learn to design, survey, draft, and construct the staging, marketing, and sales of the home. Many of the students describe this as a “once in a lifetime” activity. By the end of the program, they will have developed more than just hands-on skills; they also develop skills like leadership in a workplace and how to work as a team.
While students are offered to take dual credit down the road, grade 10 students go on a 9-day field trip to see what construction is like at SAIT. While on this field trip, they get to experience what life is like as a student of SAIT.
“For our dual credit programs, we really want students to feel included in our post-secondary community and almost more than that. We want them to feel that sense of competence that they're fully capable of participating in post-secondary,” said Rozlynn Wick, Manager of Strategic Youth Initiatives.
The Building Futures program started in 2013, making this year its 10-year anniversary. Within the past 10 years, the biggest changes the program has seen are the connections the students get with the construction community, as well as the connection with the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie and the City.
“Their level of investment in this program and in the community is inspirational,” said Sean Root a teacher in the program.
Within the program, many students are faced with the fear that they won’t get the proper number of credits to graduate. Root claims graduating on time will not be an issue. Root believes that this program is a great opportunity.
“The real benefit here in my opinion - is students not only get everything done, they need to get done for their academics, but they also get the hands-on experience of building a house and [that means] working with dozens of trades,” said Root.
He also added that a big plus to the program is that students can see if this industry is for them before they commit to it as a career or post-secondary goal.
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