BCIT launches pilot program to help high school students into the workforce

BCIT is proud to launch its first pilot of the Entry Skills for Architectural, Construction, and Engineering Fields (ACE) Microcredential program with over 18 high school students from Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey, and Vancouver enrolled to start this summer. ACE is a pathway program aimed to provide eligible high school students, specifically recent graduates, with introductory design and technical skills in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. Students will spend the summer completing the curriculum portion of the program before they are placed with industry partners through two 6-month paid internships. Throughout the internships, students gain real-world experience working on the job while continuing their studies in a part-time, online model.

With BC expected to have over one million job openings in the next 10 years based on the latest Labour Market Outlook Report, BCIT sees the ACE microcredential as a solution in supporting the province and industries to fulfill the workforce gap. The microcredential helps remove barriers to education for the youth by requiring less financial and time commitment, and encouraging students who are unsure if a particular program/field is right for them to try a variety of career paths before committing to further academic avenues.

“BCIT is excited to be spearheading this unique ACE initiative that offers motivated high school students a deeper understanding about career opportunities in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering,” said Wayne Hand, Dean, School of Construction and the Environment. “Access to paid, industry work placements provide young learners the insight, experience, and connections needed to make informed decisions about their career and education pathways, while giving industry partners the opportunity to attract young people to their vibrant sectors.”

The ACE Microcredential: A glimpse into the workforce

The ACE Microcredential is a unique entry level educational program with integrated hands-on learning. This microcredential is the first BCIT microcredential that offers high school students an exposure to the spectrum of careers that exist within the architecture, construction, and engineering fields through a combination of sector aligned courses and work experience.

As a pathway opportunity for recently graduated high school students, the pilot of the microcredential will be delivered in-person at BCIT Burnaby Campus this summer with participants completing a total of 8 post-secondary credits in an intensive, engaging, and applied environment. Upon completion of the microcredential, students will have been introduced to skills, concepts, and terminologies used in these sectors, participated in site visits, worked on both physical and digital models, and hear from leaders in these professions. Ryder Architecture and Cascadia Windows are among the many industry partners who will be sponsoring paid internship positions for these students in the pilot program.

Benefits of the ACE Micocredential

There are many reasons why the ACE Microcredential is a top choice for high school students and recent high school graduates, notably:

Reduced barriers for folks to get into the field

This program is a good way for high school students and recent high school graduates to try out a new field without committing to a particular fulltime program right out of the gate.

Freedom to explore several career avenues

This exposure will help them make informed decisions about the area of specialty that most interests them in their future career path.

Valuable internship experience

The work-integrated approach of this program provides recent high school graduates with valuable experiences with our top industry partners. In the future, it is anticipated that students in grade 12 and newcomers to Canada may also benefit from this program.

Laddering up to a Certificate in Essential Skills for the Design-Build (ACE) Sector

Students who successfully complete the ACE Microcredential may then apply to a one-year (proposed) Certificate in Essential Skills for the Design-Build (ACE) Sector. The certificate involves a paid rotating internship program with concurrent online coursework where students have the opportunity to deepen and broaden their expertise, skills, and knowledge.

Graduates from the Certificate program will then have the ability to pursue several pathways toward architecture, construction, and engineering credentials, such as the BCIT Architectural and Building Technology Diploma program.

“The ACE program is an opportunity for high school students to learn more about careers in the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering fields while gaining paid, industry work experience,” said Laurie Therrien, Manager, Corporate Training and Industry Services, BCIT. “This also allows companies in those fields to introduce more young people to these exciting careers – all of which are a tremendous win for students, industry, and education. In fact, it’s long overdue.”

Interested? Reach out.

If you’re a high school student and are interested in our program, please contact Ann Martineau for more information and to request an application package.

If you represent an Architectural, Construction, or Engineering firm and would like to explore becoming an ACE industry partner with BCIT, please contact Laurie Therrien.

The BCIT ACE Microcredential is an adapted version of the PlanBEE, a pioneering apprenticeship program created by Ryder Architecture and Gateshead College, that is specifically designed to reflect the workforce in BC.

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