Ask any group of middle school students which they would prefer – a day in the classroom, or a day in a college chemistry lab – and chances are pretty good they’ll choose the latter. For more than 300 middle school students in the Saint John region, a recent day in the chemistry and materials lab at NBCC was more than just a distraction from their regular studies; it also opened new doors to career possibilities.
In partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Centre of Excellence for Energy, NBCC’s School of Engineering Technologies welcomed the students to participate in campus tours and hands-on learning activities, giving them a glimpse into the opportunities awaiting them at NBCC.
“It’s really difficult for students to know what options are out there if they aren’t exposed to them,” said Jodi Stringer-Webb, dean of Engineering Technologies. “I think one of the best things we can do to help support students in choosing their life path is to expose them to some of the opportunities and options that are out there.”
The Centre of Excellence for Energy connects industry with classrooms across the province by providing enriched virtual and experiential learning opportunities to New Brunswick’s future workforce. For Adam Trider, Lead for the Centre, this event was the perfect way to introduce middle school students and teachers to what NBCC can offer.
“I think it’s really important to get students to the College in order to experience the programs,” he said. “Experiential learning is key in the development of our future workforce, so we need to expose students to the jobs that are out there and what the pathways to employment are in New Brunswick. For a lot of in-demand jobs in our province, the College is that pathway.”
While on-site, students visited the chemistry and materials labs where instructors from the School of Engineering Technologies conducted live demonstrations and answered questions. The student groups also had the opportunity to visit the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology programs and experience some of the innovative technology developed by NBCC students. The local PALS program sponsored the event by providing lunches.
Paul McNutt, Technology Coach for the Anglophone South school district, participated in planning the two-day event and attended with students.
“I thought it was really great,” he said. “Seeing how excited the students were about the demonstrations and some of the things that they got to experience confirmed for me that this was the right group to bring in.”
NBCC continues to partner with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in Centres of Excellence in the areas of Health and Entrepreneurship.