Learning Partnerships Best Practices

It is key to be working in consultation with the district leadership team to help guide the developmental process. The District Career Programs Leader will:

  • Engage the district “careers” team in developing and participating in partnership development strategies
  • Develop collaborative working relationships with school administration, counselors and “careers” personnel in order to build capacity for learning partnerships

Building partnership networks in your community can be complicated. Start by working with each of these groups, developing a strategy for each:

  • Employers and businesses
  • Associations that represent groups of employers
  • Local post-secondary institutions in your region

Inform your community and welcome input on what current labour market needs are:

  • Network with local businesses (e.g. Chamber of Commerce) and community service organizations (e.g. Rotary, Lions, Big Brothers, Boys and Girls Club)
  • Offer career program presentations to inform the community about what’s happening in your district to support student success

Connect with regional and provincial organizations and networks to develop an understanding of labour market information and to make connections:

  • Connect with the Industry and Training Authority (ITA) for information designed for school districts and employers
  • Contact the Career Education Society to connect with the regional director in your area and access partnership support for ACE IT, Dual Credit, SSA and other programs
  • Collaborate with other districts to increase opportunities for students in your district, such as including technical training classes at the college or school in an approved trades training program
  • Attend regional networking activities (e.g. CES regional meetings) to discover what regional partnership consortiums exist and how your district get involved

Develop post-secondary learning partnerships that provide opportunities for students to attend college courses for credit towards apprenticeship, college or university:

  • These partnerships often require support and leadership by senior school district administration to create partnership arrangements
  • Some post-secondary institutions are engaged in partnership programs and activities with school districts. Check out what is happening to learn more about their partnership culture and consult with others engaged in this type of activity to understand best methods of partnership development in your region.
  • Participate in the regional partnership consortiums like the South Island Partnership (between Camosun College and five school districts) to learn how to develop dual credit and trades training programs.

Communicate regularly with school administrations to ensure projects align with the district education strategic plan:

  • Develop regular communication opportunities for administrators to meet with the District Careers Leader.
    • Present regularly at administrators’ meetings and request feedback
    • Meet with administrators at their school and collaborate on strategies
    • Invite administrators to “careers” meetings to speak and participate
    • Provide administrators with “careers” resources to share with staff
    • Present updates and outcomes to school board trustees
    • Generate ideas for communication tools with administrators

Secondary School Learning Partnerships (Exploration and Engagement)

Engage business, Industry and community organizations to:

  • Invite local business, industry, community organizations and municipalities
    • Speak to students and “Careers” staff on a variety of topics: Labour Market Forecasts and Opportunities; Careers; Employability Skills; Community Change
    • Participate in Career Events as speakers, demonstrations, workshops
    • Develop workplace learning opportunities – job shadowing, work experience, internship, and apprenticeship
  • Host community panels on relevant community topics, e.g. Labour market needs, demand, supply; emerging industry needs and opportunities, skills shortages, and employability skills
  • Cold calls and visitations to community businesses and local industry to build a community Partnership database identifying how they will participate in “careers” learning experience and specify what audience: 
    • Speaker bureau participant and expertise topic
    • Career event – career fair, trades forum, career tours, career spotlight
    • Career mentor or job coach
    • Business and industry sponsors
    • Community project-based learning – community garden, building projects, environmental stewardship
    • Community / school open house
    • Work experience placement
    • Specialized placements – at risk youth, students with special needs
    • Training berth for apprenticeship, internship, co-op placement

Collaborate with post-secondary institutions that include business and industry partners:

  • Expand learning partnership relationships with local business and industry partners at the district and school level to include post-secondary and industry training institutions
  • Bring forward local strategies to the regional meetings and partnership consortiums and seek ways to develop career programs models to expand student opportunities and support student success.
  • Host a “think tank” to explore emerging labour market needs and invite learning partners to attend.

Middle School Learning Partnerships (Awareness and Education)

Teachers of applied programs and health and career education responsibilities are key participants in aligning provincial learning outcomes with the intentions of learning partnerships.

Build inventory or district-wide database of learning partnerships serving middle school students to include:

  • Community field trips and volunteering helps students to learn about the role of self and the role of others in community: volunteer placements, career tours to businesses and industries, community treasures, environmental issues, community projects
  • Career events such as open houses and career fairs where students learn about careers and ideas as to how to get there in terms of education and training
  • Skills Canada Competitions engage individual students and student teams in an applied skills competition with students regionally, nationally, and internationally
  • Yes 2 Trades (YTT) provides students with an experiential opportunity to learn more about trades as a career pathway and opportunities to start early
  • Project-based learning experiences that utilize community mentors and community resources expand the learning experience of the classroom
  • Job shadowing activities like the Take Our Kids to Work (TOKTW) provide middle school students with opportunities to develop a better understanding of their community and open their eyes to career possibilities
  • In-school workshops on relevant topics linked to learning outcomes (e.g. Discover Skills BC and Junior Achievement)
  • Discover Skills BC lesson plans and activities for middle school teachers
  • School-to-school partnering where middle school students:
    • Host and mentor elementary students in applied learning projects and teach basic tool safety and skills
    • Are hosted by secondary students in the applied program courses such as technology education, home economics, school annual, business, and photography

Elementary School Learning Partnerships (Career Awareness)

Elementary schools are active learning environments where career development activities are integrated into the curriculum and enriched by community partnering. These partnerships are generally informal and partnership relationships between school and classrooms are developed more individually.

Build an inventory or district-wide database of learning partnerships serving elementary school students to include:

  • Community field trips and tours
  • Community speakers for career talks, learning circles and curriculum topics
  • Visitations to middle school project-based learning opportunities – applied skills and “hands on” tools skill development
  • Discover Skills BC lesson plans and activities for teachers to delivery in class