Two Island schools are piloting a new program aimed at encouraging high school students to focus on information technology as a potential career path, says Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Doug Currie.
“The Government of Prince Edward Island is pleased to partner with the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) to deliver the Focus on IT program this year at Montague Regional High School and Westisle Composite High School and we hope to see it expand across the province,” said Minister Currie. “The FIT program allows high school students to develop the necessary technical, business and interpersonal skills to succeed in a highly competitive society and economy. By focusing on 21st century skills such as teamwork, communication, collaboration and problem solving, our students will be better prepared for successful careers.”
The Focus on IT program is a two-year high school program, developed in conjunction with the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, that lets high school students develop the necessary technical, business and interpersonal skills they’ll need to lead the way in our new, wired world. It offers a unique classroom experience. Students are engaged in a special business simulation model allowing them to practice the techniques they are acquiring. This broad set of skills can be readily applied as well to real jobs made available through FIT-assisted summer, youth apprenticeship or co-op placements.
Best of all, upon graduation, students receive a nationally recognized FIT certificate and will be ready to write major ICT certification exams, should they choose to do so. As well, they may receive advanced standing in certain post-secondary programs.
“These students could go on to further education in ICT or to work in the field,” explains Paul D. Swinwood, President of ICTC. “Enrolment in post-secondary IT programs has dropped 50 per cent over the past three years and ICTC has projected 34,000 new jobs to be created in IT per year with only 8,000 new IT graduates nationally. Programs like Focus on Information Technology (FIT) will allow Canada, and specifically the province of Prince Edward Island, to remain globally competitive and be part of a long-term solution to this skills shortage.”
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is working with the school boards to expand the FIT program across Prince Edward Island.
“It is important for students to learn and experience what it takes to succeed in growth sectors of Prince Edward Island’s economy,” said Minister Currie. “The new program will be a great benefit as high school graduates pursue post secondary opportunities and careers in the IT field. Our Government is committed to strengthening our Island school system and we will continue to invest in our youth to better prepare them for emerging career opportunities.”
For more information about the Focus on IT program, visit www.ictc-ctic.ca and click on the Career Pathways link.
Media Contact: Maureen Flanagan-LeClair