Adiele Audain graduates from NorQuest College’s Dual Credit program, which offers high school students the opportunity to get a head start on the post-secondary experience while providing workforce-relevant skills that make them employable immediately. Taken on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Edmonton.
Greg Southam / 00087578A
Hailey Chyz and Adiele Audain each needed two caps and two gowns to graduate at the Winspear Centre on Tuesday.After graduating from Edmonton’s NorQuest College health care aide program in the morning, the two students and classmate Kayleigh Keohane had to move quickly to make their high school graduation at McNally High School later in the afternoon.Chyz, Audain and Keohane are among approximately 120 students graduating this month from the dual credit program between NorQuest College and several local school boards. Through the program, students earn their high school diplomas concurrently with a health care aide or administrative professional certification at NorQuest.“I just wanted something that was a starting point to get me going after high school, but then it ended up being something that I really enjoyed doing,” said Chyz between ceremonies on Tuesday.The dual credit program is part of Edmonton Public School Board’s (EPSB) career pathways initiative, which focuses on experiential and hands-on experience for high school students to go “above and beyond” the norm.“We had this vision that we wanted to start something different for Edmonton Public students,” said Lisa Beebe, a career pathways consultant at EPSB, on Tuesday.Hosted at Edmonton’s McNally high school, the health care aide program combines theory and labs — equipped with eight hospital beds — for students from seven school districts across the capital region. Students spend the entire semester at McNally while still remaining enrolled at their schools of origin in somewhat of a local ‘study abroad’ program.“They’re able to have a practical, authentic way to experience what they’ve been learning and apply what they’ve been learning,” said instructor Lindsay Babiuk, “So when they get to their clinicals … they really have a great expectation of what it’s all about.”The program is challenging, especially for students who may be as young as 16. Mental health and self-care training are provided to all students, said Babiuk, stressing that participants can emerge with the earning potential to fund further studies.“This is just that first step for that job that’s going to be able to provide them some tuition support as they complete other programs,” said Babiuk.For Chyz and Audain, the challenge helped them find new potential career avenues and set them up with skills and confidence for what’s next.“Even though some parts of (the program) were challenging, I feel like I’ve grown with it,” said Audain, who plans to work in home care before continuing her studies to be a veterinary technician. “It was really fun and interesting and I learned a lot.”