Central Programs and Services School, in partnership with Okanagan College, has developed an exciting initiative for at-risk grade 10-12 students called the Gateway Program. For students in general, the pursuit of graduation and the transition to post-secondary education can often be difficult. For at-risk students who deal with a myriad of obstacles including learning difficulties, substance issues, poverty, broken homes and mental health concerns, this transition can seem insurmountable. The Gateway Program strives to provide at-risk students with the necessary supports to successfully transition to college and ultimately sustainable careers in the trade sector.
The Gateway initiative encompasses 3 progressive stages. As students move from stage 1 to 3 the demands of the program increase. Therefore, the aim of each stage is to help them acquire the necessary skills to be successful at the next level. Students begin by taking a 5 week Pre-Gateway program at Central school. Pre-Gateway focuses on readiness skills including time management, communication, problem solving, trades math and team building. Those students who are successful in completing Pre-Gateway move on to stage 2 attending Okanagan College for an extended 10 week period where they explore a variety of trades including: carpentry and joinery, plumbing, electrical, welding, automotive, metal work, collision repair and culinary arts. In stage 3 students select a specific trade and enter the Dual Credit Foundation Studies program for an extended 20-40 weeks depending on the trade selection. Through the support of caring adults, these students are finding hope and meeting tremendous success.