BRISTOL – In its second year, Bristol Public Schools secondary school students are gaining hands-on insight into potential careers through the district’s co-op work experience programme.
According to Bristol Public Schools STEM supervisor, Dr Jaime Rechenberg, the program allows students to engage in an introductory semester to the program where they develop their employability and soft skills before being matched with a partner company. in the community. Students then build their resumes and interview for positions. During a second semester, they choose to do an internship or work in a paid position for 50 or 100 hours, depending on how many credits a student is seeking.
“It’s great to have an office because they can see what working in an architectural office is like and the kind of skills we need and the projects we do,” said project manager Angela Cahill. QA+M Architecture. “It’s also a bit selfish because we need future architects, so for James (Totten) to potentially come and work for us in the future is great.”
Frank Tomcak, project manager at D’Amato and Downes A Joint Venture, said some students interning at the Bristol Arts and Innovation Magnet School construction site have followed project workers to explore the possibility of working. in the trades.
Daymond Austin, an intern student at Bristol Central High School, said he thinks one of the most important things he learned during his internship at the Bristol Arts and Innovation Magnet School building project was the communication.
“I’ve been asked to do a lot of things where I can’t do it if I don’t go out and communicate and say the right things to the right people. I’m glad I learned that from this experience” , did he declare.
Tomcak noted that because Austin did much of the photographic documentation of the construction project, he could go out and notify the project manager of various component changes as the project progressed.
“We worked with Daymond (Austin) to get him involved in different trade groups, like our laborers, carpenters and painters, to get a feel for what they do on a day-to-day basis and see if that’s something he would like to gravitate towards on graduation,” he said.
James Totten, an intern student at Bristol Central High School, said one of the most important things about his internship experience with QA+M Architecture was seeing how an architectural office worked.
“Everyone knows their job and knows it well. It’s a positive atmosphere where you can ask for help when you need it,” he said. “It’s great to see a few things outside, not just with your firm, but with other architects.”
Matthew Goral, an intern student at Bristol Eastern High School, worked with the Barnes Group and said the experience had been positive for him and he intended to eventually pursue a career in civil engineering.
“I would say the overall experience is amazing because you can go out there and get really up close and personal with the things that you would want to do later in life,” he said. “The teachers who deal with this stuff have gone to a lot of effort to put you in a position that you really value because they ask you why you want to go to college and then try to put you in touch with companies. who do this sort of thing.”