Pilot program paves path to post-secondary

Program aims to teach young students new techniques

3/13/2023 11:21:34 AM

ST. JOHN’S, NL — The Technology Career Pathway (TCP) program at College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is doing something that hasn’t been done before – providing students with access to post-secondary education while still in high school.

Richard Spencer, Instructional Lead of the Technology Career Pathway Program, says it is breaking new ground and students are the primary beneficiaries.

“Opportunities for students are changing and for the better! Doors are being opened and will continue to be opened so we can enrich the lives of our secondary level students. Everyone involved in this initiative is doing it for these students, to give them opportunities that were previously unheard of.”

The TCP program is a pilot project announced in 2021 that is a partnership between the provincial government, CNA and the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD).

“A high school student doing college courses and being co-taught by their teacher and a college instructor is a groundbreaking initiative and a new way of doing things,” said Spencer. “This has attracted a lot of attention from various other provinces and learning institutions.”

Most importantly, he explains, this initiative could help fill the growing demand for technology trained workers.

“We have a big technology sector in this province, and we feel this is a fantastic way to help kids find their passion and hopefully pursue careers in our innovation and technology sector.”

To get a program of this magnitude off the ground, Spencer said it was all about teamwork.

“Finding the right mix of CNA instructors and the right NLESD teachers was important. Collaboration is a huge part of the project, and we needed the right people. Planning was also a big part; you cannot start a project to this extent and not meticulously plan and a lot of that credit goes the steering team of Jackie Reid (Program Developer, School of Business and IT), Stephen Warren (Dean, School of Business and IT) and our counterparts at NLESD.”

Spencer says introducing students to technology at a young age is crucial in today’s ever-changing society and workforce.

“We need to incorporate skilled trades at an early age. Right now, it is Python programming, but who is to say that in a few years’ time it couldn’t be more hands-on skilled trades like something in the health industry. We need to recruit workers from within and that means guiding them on their journey at a young age. Find what makes them tick and then foster that.”

TCP students have been invited by Skills Canada Newfoundland and Labrador to attend Skilled Career Day at PPD campus Friday, March 24. They will be able to network with experts and other students enrolled in TCP, as well as participate in workshops and tours, and experience a college training and learning environment first-hand.

Currently there are 12 high schools involved in the program throughout the province. Students who complete the program will receive a microcredential from CNA indicating they have completed the Python TCP (a widely used programming language in fields such as web development, data science and artificial intelligence), as well as course credit at the post-secondary level. They will also receive a $2,500 tuition voucher for a post-secondary institution in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information about TCP and other CNA programs. visit www.cna.nl.ca.

Media contact:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic