From Brian Findlay
A pair of Red Deer students captured Gold medals in the recent edition of Skills Alberta’s annual competition.
The victories earned them kudos from another medalist – Olympic Bobsleigh pilot Justin Kripps.
Jack Lerouge, a grade ten student at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, beat out 15 competitors from across the province in the Culinary Arts division by calmly preparing ginger lime roasted chicken with Thai red curry vegetables and black sesame rice cakes in front of a panel of judges including professional chefs.“
Because the competition was virtual and a lot of the judging was based on presentation, I decided to make a dish that had lots of colours and contrasts,” said Lerouge, “I thought the idea of a virtual competition was cool, and it was great that Skills was able to get an event like this to happen, considering the current circumstances. I liked that I had the opportunity to choose what I wanted to make and I found myself more at ease cooking in my own kitchen.
Bryce Corrin, a grade twelve student at Hunting Hills high school, also won Gold. Corrin’s win came in the IT Office Software Applications division, where competitors were asked to use the full range of Microsoft Office applications to create promotional materials for a fictitious Drive-in theatre.“
I have been a big movie buff ever since I was little so I was naturally very pleased to see that the fictitious company scenario this year was a drive-in movie theatre,” said Corrin. “For over a year I worked at the regular movie theatre here in Red Deer so overall I had a really well rounded idea about what would appeal to the average customer on the poster.”
Big accomplishments, but things got even more exciting when they received some personalized congratulations from another Alberta Gold medalist – Olympic Bobsleigh champ Justin Kripps! Thanks to program partner RBC, this week the two winners were welcomed into the Gold medal club by the 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist.
The bobsleigh pilot is an RBC Olympian, which involves helping the bank with local community partnerships. When a handful of the winners’ projects were shown to Kripps, he earmarked a few for special congratulations. In each personalized message Kripps encouraged the students to keep pursuing their passions, and to try to use pandemic-related downtime in a positive way.
The Skills Alberta Virtual Competition involved 300 students from 78 Alberta secondary schools. The competition gives students the ability to showcase skills they’ve learned through their career and technology studies classes. Competitions ranged from robotics to carpentry to animation to baking. Lerouge and Corrin were the only Gold medal winners from Red Deer.
Looking for a Resilient Career for the Future? Keep an Eye Out for the Lighthouse
If we consider that the future of work will include a multitude of digital practices, it is up to us as employees and employers to embrace this shift with readiness and education. More familiar than not, the skills we learn through our years in education are a base, from which we hope to secure a position that falls in the same realm as our studies. The challenge is that even with curriculum updates and youth programs, the study of ever-changing digital education continues to be a challenge for both teachers and students.
We as a society are moving into a gig-heavy economy, with individuals packing more onto their certification rosters in the hopes of diversifying their resume’s. For those who may want to keep the pace over the next decade, two key categories within education shine through – data science and web development.
The importance of these skills may seem only attributable to certain industries, however, if we consider the more intensive labour positions, how data is perceived and understood is immensely important. If you are a mid-career worker, someone looking to renew their digital education or one to pursue alternative career paths that carry real promise, these skills may prove to be some of the most sought after in the near future.
To no surprise that the end of year report by Payscale shows the two “hottest jobs” fall in the data category, reflected by the “The Future of Jobs Report 2020” by the World Economic Forum. This report shows a progressive estimate for skills that will be in demand up to 2025 and beyond.
This is all great knowledge to have on hand, but where can similar skills be learnt without investing in a multi-year university degree?
One Canadian company has tangible options.
Lighthouse Labs is a Canadian company founded in 2013 by its CEO Jeremy Shaki. They specialize in educational programs and boot camps in the fields of web development and data science. Their team has created intuitive learning programs attainable for all walks of life who carry a ‘growth mindset’ into their personal development.
They offer full-time and part-time courses for their multiple bootcamps, with available mentorship from experienced professionals in both fields. The results from their 2019 Student Outcomes Report available on their website. A year from January 2019, 504 students enrolled in their bootcamps, 458 graduated and 324 gained employment post bootcamp. Out of the 329 graduates who completed a job-seeking cycle within 180 days post-bootcamp, 95% of that group accepted employment. These numbers are incredible in comparison to the investment required for a new career avenue in 2021.
In March of 2020, we experienced a mass transition to digital communications in our daily and work lives due to the pandemic. For some, the integration of conference calls, internal team applications and a pressing focus on data was simple to grasp, but not for all.
In light of some of these challenges, Lighthouse Labs has implemented and collaborated with multiple organizations to offer “Impact Initiatives”. Created to offer hyper-focused ways of educating groups of Canadians to enhance their digital literacy.
In collaboration with Kids Code Jeunesse, a non-profit organization focused on digitally-focused educational programs for youth, with funding from the Government of Canada created the Code Create Teach initiative. This partnership had 2,703 teachers experience a one-day introductory workshop on coding and computational thinking. The objective was to offer teachers additional tools they can bring into their classrooms to enhance their student’s grasp of digital technologies.
There are multiple ongoing initiatives with Lighthouse Labs and other organizations that are available to view on their website. Another that stood out is the “Accelerating Possibilities Project” in partnership with Woodgreen Community Services. Created to offer mid-career workers an opportunity to learn new skills in web development, data science and customer service. Now more than ever, these types of initiatives have the opportunity to benefit the lives of countless Canadians.
As noted in various media outlets over recent years, there is an outcry for traditional industry workers to keep pace with the digital revolution with training and support. This is one opportunity where Lighthouse Labs and other educational programs can offer a real avenue to a new career.
It should be noted that parallel to the closing of office spaces, restrictions on multi-person worksites and the mass layoffs in some of the more traditional industries, these skills offer the opportunity to both begin a new career path with an educated support system, and to re-evaluate what new skills could bring more value to your current position and your company’s future.
Lighthouse Labs has a strong sense of supporting their community and has recently announced a new scholarship fund in response to the difficult economic and societal conditions our country has faced due to the pandemic. After a high interest in their March 2020 scholarship round, they announced another $500,000 scholarship fund for those in need. You may be eligible for up to $5,000 in support for a full-time bootcamp and $750 for part-time programs if you’ve been laid off, had your hours reduced, or are out of school because of the pandemic. For interested individuals, download their financial guide for more information.
If you would like to learn more about Lighthouse Labs, their support for our communities and the various boot camps they offer, check out their website. All of their material has been digitized and has opened up their reach to anywhere in Canada, check out their blog to learn more about their platform for online tech education. Their team has created a wide variety of reading material to help interested parties learn more prior to an application. These skills are here to stay, the more we integrate with data and web development, the more employers will be headhunting for the right candidate – which truly could be you.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary
Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools picks up $30,000.00 tab to buy laptops for at-home schooling
Photo includes, from left, Foundation Board Member Morris Flewwelling, Trustee and Foundation Board Member Bev Manning and Foundation Board Chair Dave Tilstra.
Foundation donates 90 Chromebooks to students in need
In response to this challenge, the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, recently donated 90 Chromebooks to schools to lend to students needing access to technology, totally $30,000.
Dave Tilstra, Chair of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, said supporting students and ensuring they have the tools to learn is key to helping set kids up for success.
“Chromebooks will continue to be an important resource within schools and now at home. We are thrilled that we have been able to donate this much needed technology to students who would otherwise go without to ensure they have the best opportunities to continue learning,” he said.
Families who borrow a Chromebook from their child’s school are responsible for ensuring they have Wi-Fi connectivity and they will ‘sign out’ the devices and assume responsibility for their proper use and return.
“Equity is about fairness. The Foundation supports projects that help give kids life chances,” said Bruce Buruma, Executive Director for the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools. “Families experience challenges during the best of times, but the past number of months have been tough for many. We know this donation will help ease one burden so students can focus on learning and families can focus on other priorities.”
The Foundation supports projects that align with the Division priorities of Literacy and Numeracy, Equity and Student Success and Completion.
For more information, please contact:
- Bruce Buruma, Executive Director
- Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools
- Phone: 403-352-2827
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