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.
Stage One: Pre-Gateway
Students begin by taking a 5 week Pre-Gateway program at Central school. Pre-Gateway focuses on readiness skills including:
- Self esteem
- Team building
- Social growth (cooperation and bonding with fellow students)
- Character building (giving back to the community)
- Inner strength
- Tolerance and compassion for others
The Pre-Gateway program also includes an outdoor camping trip.
Stage Two: Gateway
Those students who are successful in completing Pre-Gateway move on to stage 2 (Gateway) 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. Stage 2 also includes a 5-day co-op work experience component where students are able to gain valuable on the job work experience in addition to networking with potential employers.
Stage Three: Dual Credit Foundation Studies
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.
At-risk youth require a tremendous support network if they are to be successful transitioning to college life. As mentioned, students in the Gateway program struggle to varying degrees of numerous challenges. The support staff of SD23-Central Programs and Services, including learning assistance teachers, resource teachers and counselors, work closely with their colleagues at Okanagan College to ensure that required learning adaptations and mental health supports are in place for our students.
Over the past four years we have seen increasing success with students enrolling in the Gateway program with more students accessing dual credit apprenticeship course and completing their foundation year in a variety of trade areas.
The tuition fees for Foundation programs are covered by SD23; however, there are a number of other costs that must paid for by the student including the following the costs for:
- Tools for students entering the construction trades
- Uniforms and knives for students entering the Culinary Arts program
- Course workbooks
- College ancillary fees
Scholarships coming from The Gary Bennett Family Fund helps cover these costs.
We truly subscribe to the belief that it takes a community to raise a child, and we want to be a part of that community.