On Friday, May 10th, 2019, students from the Business Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program at Listowel District Secondary School experienced how a company can go from humble beginnings to an international company.
The students toured the Iceculture Inc. facility in Hensall, Ontario and learned first hand how the business operates and provides services to people and companies all over the world with just 14 full time employees. This day was the Sector-Partnered Contextualized Experience (SPCE) component of the SHSM, where students spend a day with a sector-partner learning about the business and the math or coding that is needed in order to be successful in that industry. After students toured the building and learned about the career opportunities available at Iceculture Inc., they were engaged in an experiential learning project that had them thinking, measuring containers and trying to figure out how understanding mathematical components is required in order for the ice sculpture industry to succeed.
Lucas Baggio, senior Business student, said, “I didn’t think the math part was going to be so hard until I was actually trying to solve the problems. This experience showed me where understanding math and certain concepts is required in the workplace.” Lisa Steffler, Health and Safety Coordinator at Iceculture Inc., was one of the students’ tour guides and encouraged more of these days with students in order to spread the word about the opportunities that are available for students right in their backyard of Huron and Perth counties. SHSM board lead, Jodi Froud, said the SPCE portion is new to the SHSM and the schools are starting to figure out how to make meaningful sector experiences for students. She said, “Having community and industry partners involved with this day is creating an authentic learning environment where students are making connections to the vast opportunities and careers that they may not have realized existed, especially so close to home.”
This is the first year that the Business SHSM has been offered in the Avon Maitland District School Board. Students in this program are required to take a bundle of credits specializing in the subject area, get free certifications and training relating to Business, and take a two-credit cooperative education course that provides them with relevant, hands-on experience in an industry such as retail, finance, accounting, marketing, or entrepreneurship. Karen Harmer, Business Studies Department Head and Business SHSM Lead, explained, “It’s exciting to show students how Business will affect all of them. Whether they work for someone else or decide to start their own venture someday, the knowledge gained from Business courses and the Business SHSM program will help them gain an understanding of and appreciation for the work involved in operating a successful business.”