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Durham Continuing Education (DCE) provides many opportunities for students to make a transition to the future. Students earn high school credits, as they make plans for new adventures in the future. Cooperative Education programs are part of the course selections at DCE. With Cooperative Education programs, students earn credits by doing a work placement. They can begin the transition to work and/or apprenticeship.

Saiqa Jabeen arrived in Canada from Kenya in 2003. She needed a job. Her interests included nursing, or childcare. With limited funds, she knew that a university or college program was not in her immediate future. Saiqa had left school at 16 years, due to a lack of interest in her studies. Her first step here in Canada was to complete Grade 12, and she enrolled at Durham Continuing Education. During her last semester, she decided to participate in Cooperative Education. Cathy Dekking, her guidance teacher, told her about the Early Childhood Educator (ECE) apprenticeship that was starting in Durham Region.

Saiqa did a placement at Schoolhouse Playcare Centre at Pine Ridge Secondary School. She spent six weeks there, full days, and was able to rotate through all the areas at the day care – infant, toddler and over 2 years old. Lee Anne Kelly, Program Director, for Schoolhouse Playcare Centres was impressed with the performance appraisal for Saiqa during her Cooperative Education and was very excited about the chance to register her as an apprentice in the Early Childhood Education program.

  Saiqa was hired as a part-time summer childcare assistant, and in fall, 2004 she was registered as an apprentice and hired full time with Schoolhouse Playcare Centres.

Saiqa has demonstrated her commitment to the apprenticeship program. Each day, she learns about the care of children. She is very interested in children with special needs. Her work includes meeting with parents and she enjoys talking to them regarding the care of the child. She is also involved with planning and implementing activities for the children. An important part of her education is learning how to work with a variety of people.

Saiqa says: ” Everyday I learn something new, and that is so good for me.”
During her apprenticeship, Saiqa is able to observe and ask questions of the professional staff who work with her. In spring, 2005, Saiqa will attend the in-school component of her training. It is provided by Seneca College and is held at Durham College Whitby Skills Training Centre. This provides easy access for apprenticeship training to residents of Durham Region.

Saiqa enjoys her work with the children and is planning to complete her Early Childhood Education apprenticeship during the next three years. What a transition for a young woman who arrived in Canada and found her passion!

Article and photo courtesy of Durham Continuing Education, Transition to Work Programs Department.

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