The Portage Collegiate Institute offers many ways for students to gain employment experience while earning school credits.
Portage la Prairie School Division Assistant Superintendent Pam Garnham explains high school students are eligible to receive school credits through their place of employment, apprenticeships, internships or through a dual credit system such as Health Care Aid.
"So with the high school apprenticeship the kids are going to work, they're getting paid an apprenticeship rate and they're earning some high school credits. They can earn up to eight grade 12 credits and then the hours that they work can go towards their level 1 in that trade."
Garnham explains some of the trade programs PCI offers include building trades and construction, hairstyling, and vocational automotive. She adds this is very good for a community the size of Portage.
"Obviously when you go into the city there are schools that are designated just vocational schools but we have one of the top five automotive facilities in the province because it was built brand new when the schools amalgamated. The automotive program has had many students who have won at Skills Manitoba and have gone to Skills Canada and have won silver at Skills Canada."
She notes programs such as these are very valuable.
"With all students, they can go to university or they can go to college and having that skill-based background is important. Employers are looking for essential skills, they're looking for kids that are demonstrating that they have a good work ethic, that they have good communication skills"
Garnham says students involved in these programs are able to develop these essential skills.