New TekX Program Introduces High School Students to Postsecondary Education
High school students now have the opportunity to earn postsecondary credits, gain hands-on learning experiences, and get an introduction to the tech sector.
High school students interested in pursuing a career in technology will soon get a head start with the new experiential Technology Exploration Dual Credit (TekX) program. TekX is a collaboration between the College of New Caledonia (CNC), the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), and School District 57 (SD57) that gives Grade 11 students an introduction to the rapidly growing tech sector.
Applications for the first cohort of TekX are now open. Students and parents can learn more by visiting CNC’s and UNBC’s TekX information pages or by speaking with a SD57 secondary school guidance counsellor.
"The technology sector is a fantastic and in-demand option for young people looking to pursue a rewarding career," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. "This collaboration between CNC, UNBC and School District 57 will help prepare students to fill our skilled labour gap and drive our economy forward."
"TekX's expansion across the province will allow more young people to access training that will help them find rewarding careers in the technology sector," said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. "This is another way B.C. is making sure we have the skilled people we need to help businesses fill job openings and to keep our economy strong and growing."
Preparing for the job market through hands-on learning
Through 300 hours of hands-on learning, TekX gives students a chance to earn postsecondary credits while still in high school. Areas of study include computer hardware, cybersecurity, 3D printing, and drones.
“When it comes to ensuring graduates are job-ready, hands-on learning can translate into lasting success,” said Cindy Heitman, president of CNC. “TekX will help students decide which path they want to pursue at a pivotal point in their education journey. They will be introduced to a variety of disciplines and opportunities to use equipment they may not otherwise have access to.”
According to the 2023 BC Labour Market Outlook, the tech industry is the second largest industry in growth with 142,400 projected job openings over the next 10 years. Almost 80,000 of those openings are expected to be new positions.
Structure of TekX
“Through TekX’s unique experiential learning opportunities, we are taking steps to reimagine how we educate to meet the accelerating demand for highly skilled workers in technology industries,” says Dr. Geoff Payne, president of UNBC. “By cultivating curiosity in high school students, UNBC, CNC and SD57 are opening career pathways for learners and helping meet the need for a sustainable workforce in the North and beyond.”
TekX will be delivered in a cohort model with two offerings each year. Students will participate in the program in either high school semester. Twenty spaces will be available for students each intake. Interested applicants can apply in their Grade 10 year.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for high school students to get a taste of what postsecondary education is all about without having to commit to a specific school or program of study,” said SD57 assistant superintendent Lee Karpenko. “Successful participants will be able to continue their studies locally or transfer their credits to other post-secondary institutions once they graduate.”
Both CNC and UNBC offer various dual credit programs for high school students who want to earn postsecondary credits before they graduate. For more information, visit the S57 Curriculum Hub.
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