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Co-op helps students select the right career path

By Randy Thoms May 19, 2023 | 6:59 PM

Students enrolled in the Co-operative Education Program at Fort Frances High School stage their Display Day, on May 18, 2023. Image: Randy Thoms

Some Fort Frances High School students are getting a jump on their future careers.

Students in the Co-op Education program staged their Display Day on Thursday, showcasing what they’ve learned in the workplace.

About one hundred students enrolled in the school’s two semesters.

To participate, students must apply and go through an interview process to identify their career interests and where they would like to be placed.

“We spend a week at the beginning of the semester in class just preparing them in terms of work skills and all the transferable skills that they might need, as well as all the paperwork that is required,” says Chris Sinclair, one of the school’s co-operative education teachers.

The students spent eighteen of the program’s twenty weeks at their job placement.

Sinclair says it’s a good eye-opening experience for students to learn different aspects of whatever career path they take.

He says it also gives them an idea if it is not the right fit for them.

“So instead of going away to university or college or going into all these different programs without that experience, it allows them to gain that hands-on experience and learn more about that avenue they want to go to before reaching that point. And not necessarily wasting years, but having a better idea that’s the right fit for them after high school,” says Sinclair.

Gr. 13 student Piper Cross with her Being the Spark display after a co-op at the high school’s manufacturing department. May 18, 2023. Image: Randy Thoms

Grade 13 student Piper Cross chose to do her co-op at the high school’s manufacturing department.

She is now looking at enrolling in a trade school.

“I think it’s a good career choice for women. It makes a lot of money, and there are not a lot of women in that field. I think it would be good if more women went into that field. And by me being here, I feel like it’s more welcoming,” says Cross.






Gr. 13 student Aaron Wood explains his co-op at Fort Frances Power Corporation. May 18, 2023. Image: Randy Thoms

Grade 12 student Aaron Wood chose his co-op at the Fort Frances Power Corp. where his dad works.

He says he does plan to take an electrical engineering program in the future.

“I think it made me want to pursue this career even more,” says Wood.







Gr. 13 student Teagan Mosbeck with her display on teaching at Donald Young School. May 18, 2023. Image: Randy Thoms

An interest in teaching led Grade 12 student Teagan Mosbeck doing her co-op at Donald Young School in Emo.

“I wanted to be a teacher since I was little, and this was my home school. So that’s where I went, and I loved the environment, and that’s why I wanted to do my co-op (there),” says Mosbeck.

She plans to attend Lakehead University for her Bachelor of Education and Kinesiology after graduation.





Gr. 11 student Mackenzie McClain with display on Money Madness after doing a co-op at BDO. May 18, 2023. Image: 2023

Grade 11 student MacKenzie McClain selected BDO for her co-op.

She says she selected the firm to see what it would be like in a job in accounting.

“I had lots of fun. They let me do tax reports. I’m doing corporate tax returns, a little bit more complicated, but I’m really enjoying it there,” says McClain.

She is now leaning toward an accounting program when she completes high school.





The high school is already planning for the next school year.

Sinclair says support from the area’s business community helps make the program a success.

The school is always looking to grow the program by attracting new businesses and organizations to open their doors to co-op students.

“We are always trying to expand. We’re always trying to include different businesses. We encourage everyone. We reach out to anyone and everyone and anyone we can, anyone who’s willing to take on a co-op student,” says Sinclair.

“They’re all very helpful. They’re all understanding, and they’re willing to work with the students, which is great because ultimately these are the students that they’re trying to promote their field. So they want to teach them, and I think the students appreciate that opportunity as well.”


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