Voc Ed back to school

Matthew McCully
Staff Writer

Lots of students can’t wait get back to school after summer break. Even many first time students are chomping at the bit to Velcro up their big kid shoes, load up their lunch boxes and hop on the bus to school.
But some students are more on the nervous side.
For adults enrolled at the Lennoxville Vocational Training Centre, returning to school after a substantial absence can be intimidating, according to Development agent François Houde.
“They can be very nervous. Sometimes, it has been 10 or 15 years that they have been out in the workforce,” Houde said.
“ Getting back at it can be kind of scary.”
To help the ‘new’ students, each one is assigned a coach on the first day. Those coaches will continue to meet with their students monthly, Houde said, to touch base and talk about how their programs are going.
“It’s to create that link of confidence,” Houde explained.
Enrolment is on par with previous years, Houde said, but two programs are lower than usual. Machining Techniques and Health, Assistance and Nursing Care have fewer students, despite three job offers on the table at the moment, Houde said.
“Coming out of a program with three job offers, you don’t see that often,” he said.
Along with the rest of the ETSB, classes will start on August 31 for some programs, while others are scheduled to begin on September 7.
There are also continuous programs, with monthly entry, Houde added.
“It’s more individualized learning,” he said, explaining that students can move at their own pace, and classroom support is more like a coach than a teacher.
Houde said there are two new programs available at the centre, which were introduced last year, CNC (computer numerical controller) training, and a French course called Préparation de produits Métallique.
Back to school shopping is a less daunting task for Voc Ed students, according to Houde. “there are certain things they have to buy, like writing materials,” he said, but the list is nothing like elementary and high school.
Some students may be required to purchase items specific to their program. He used the examples of nursing students needing to buy a uniform, but it is something they will continue to use in the workplace, Houde said.
“We don’t teach the way people are taught in high school,” insisted Houde. For students who had dropped out of school or finished without the fondest memories of the high school structure, Houde said the LVTC is completely different.
The programs break down into one-third theory, one-third labs or machine work, and one-third internships.
“An internship is the best way to leave a program,” Houde said, adding that if a student performs well, the on the job training can sometimes evolve into full-time employment.
The job placement rate following training at the LCTC depends on the program, Houde said, but it is between 83-100 per cent.
The two main reasons for students not succeeding, according to Houde, are either a language barrier, or attitude problems. The centre has measures in place to deal with both issues, he added. A $70 course is available, offering 300 hrs of training in French or English. A new element has also been built into each program, called ‘winning attitudes in the workforce.’ The short course puts the students into the shoes of the people hiring.
“If you were an employer, what would you want?” the students are asked.
“It gives them an idea of how to act in the workplace,” said Houde.
“We’re planting the seeds for the future,” he said, helping the students keep a job once they start working.
A new website for the LVTC is expected to start up any day now, Houde said. It will include online registration options, as well as a section for employers interested in offering internships or make inquiries about the different programs.
“It’s more interactive than what we have now,” he said, hoping it will go live in the next day or two.
The web address for the new site is LVTC.ca.