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NL youth are diving into Ocean Careers

February 1, 2018 | Written By: Matt Rumboldt

Oceans Learning Partnerships pilot program will expose high school students to ocean-related careers

There was a time in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the prospect of careers related to the ocean was “all we had.” Since the Cod Moratorium, the concept of engaging in careers related to the oceans that surrounded province has dwindled to a failed industry with more hardship than it’s worth. Making a living off of our ocean was tainted, it brought fear into those who solely relied on the Atlantic Ocean as a source of income for their families.

Now, through the advancement of technology and science, government support, academic involvement and private industry innovation the tides are turning once again to bring attention back to our ocean and Newfoundland and Labrador is once again a world leader in that field.

With the pull back into the water, and to ensure its longevity and sustainability, there is now a focus on encouraging high school students to follow careers in ocean science and ocean technology.

NEIA member and long time partner of our organization, Leslie Grattan, is the interim Chair of The Oceans Learning Partnership Inc. (OLP), a multi-stakeholder initiative established five years ago with the goal of reaching high school students and helping foster interest in ocean related careers. OLP is receiving over $450,000 in non-repayable government loans to support an educational pilot project in three regions around the province.

The funding is being delivered by ACOA and Provincial Government’s Departments of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour along with The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation. The money will be used to administer three six-week internship and mentorship programs that will place 18 high school students — six from each region — with one of nine ocean sector companies that have signed on.

In the Bay of Islands region on the province’s west coast, students from Corner Brook Regional High will work with the Qalipu First Nation to assist in aquatic and ocean management research and get involved with the Bay of Islands Yacht Club, which has been plagued by zebra mussels, an invasive species.

Another example of how this program will be implemented is In the east, the focus is on ocean technology and research. Carbonear Collegiate students will be embedded with Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises, which specializes in shipbuilding and repair, and Clarenville High students will work with another NEIA member, SubC Imaging.

What’s important to note here is that this placement and intern programs are not the typical “file these things” or “Spend half your day photocopying this book.” While the program is still being built and is set to roll out in the summer, the students selected for this program will work in teams of two to actively help build the program to ensure it reaches its highest potential for students.

Two students from the program will be tasked with telling the stories of their peers’ experience in the field through digital and traditional media and all 20 students selected will be paid throughout their internship. Yes, you read that right – they will get compensated for their work.

The mentorship component involves linking the students with the host companies online once the program has ended. When the program comes to an end, the material and documentation will be shared with students throughout the province in an effort to get more of them thinking about ocean-related careers and the next year’s program.

NEIA wants to recognize Leslie Grattan and the rest of those involved in the The Oceans Learning Partnership, for their hard work and making sure our oceans remain a point of interest for the next generation of our provinces workforce. We see ocean technology and ocean sciences as a, once again, growing focus for our provinces economy and fostering that in high school students will ensure our province stays a leader in that field.

Read about it from The Telegram Here

Check out this video from The Ocean Learning Partnership

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