Thursday, July 18, 2024
July 18, 2024

Care economy course created by SD64

Salt Spring educators have crafted a new Grade 11 course focusing on exploring careers in B.C.’s growing “care economy,” rolling out for local students this fall and potentially being picked up by other schools throughout the province next year. 

Care economy careers explored in the course will include early learning and education, health care and emergency response, looking at support roles in those sectors in particular.  

District career coordinator Maggie Allison, Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) principal Ryan Massey and work experience teacher Shari Hambrook created the framework for the Care Economy Career Sampler Course, which they presented to the Gulf Islands School District (SD64) Board of Education Wednesday, Jan. 10.  

It was built at the request of the Ministry of Education and based on information from a world café-style event held last fall that saw input from Vancouver Island University, Camosun College, BC Ambulance Service, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, B.C.’s Justice Institute and Island Health nursing staff, educators, social workers and psychologists.

“There’s this idea that anyone who pokes and prods you must be a nurse or a doctor,” said Allison. “But there are over 70 occupations in allied health, and then there’s massage therapists and physiotherapists and more.” 

Allison said the policy framework was built around skills training to provide educational pathways for secondary students to explore future potential careers in in-demand areas. The core of the care economy sampler course, according to Hambrook, would be teaching the so-called “intersecting” skills — like communication or cultural awareness — as well as learning from expert guests and field trips. 

“And a ton of work, of course,” said Hambrook. “Students hopefully will learn to define who they are by what they value.”

Hambrook pointed out the work experience program at GISS has seen a growth in student involvement for that sector for several years — which is one of the reasons the ministry came to them. 

“We’ve had students doing work experience in our hospital, the assisted living residences, the daycares — all of those care economy locations,” said Hambrook. “So it didn’t take very long to establish a group of subject matter experts — and working professionals — to meet with us.” 

Massey said the ministry’s funding allowed the trio to work on the project every day at school — one block per day — since the start of September. 

“It’s going to be a comprehensive resource that any teacher can use,” said Allison, “to help mold and shape a course that will fit their community.” 

In addition, the coursework lays out how the occupations fit into the various care economy sectors. 

“A profile for [each] occupation, which shows labour market outlook, skills required, personality type and the educational pathways for certificate diploma and bachelor’s degree programs in the whole of B.C.,” said Allison. “It will be a product we’ll be very proud of.” 

Trustees unanimously approved a motion authorizing the course. Allison said the guide will be completed and ready to share provincially by the end of May. 

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