Grade 11 Citadel High School student Matt Williams is one of almost 5,000 students across Nova Scotia who will be getting on-the-job training this year as a part of co-operative education and other courses.
But before Mr. Williams heads out on his work term, he, along with his fellow students, will be learning about the importance of workplace safety.
“My co-ops will help me to get real-life, hands-on experience, and give me a step up into my future career,” said Mr. Williams. “And my health and safety training will give me the knowledge I need to keep me safe on the job.
“I’ve learned that safety is everyone’s responsibility, and that includes me. I need to know how to keep myself safe, and I also need to look out for others. It’s really just about being smart on the job.”
Workplace safety is covered in many courses beginning in Grade 7. The Nova Scotia Virtual School, an online learning platform for teachers and students, offers a number of health and safety training and learning resources. Here, Grade 10-12 students can complete the Safe@MyJob quiz and certificate, and teachers can view and download webinars on health and safety curriculum and the risk assessment tools required for student work placements.
Mr. Williams feels comfortable that co-op and safety training will help make him more employable, and will make him a better worker. “They’ll see that I have some good experience that can help make things safer for everybody,” he said.
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey said as part of a quality education, students are becoming better prepared for the jobs of tomorrow by getting first-hand experience of what it takes and means to have a safe workplace.
“By bringing the workplace into the classroom, we are giving students the knowledge and tools they need to have successful careers,” said Ms. Casey.
The province’s workplace safety strategy considers education and training essential.
“Wherever the workplace meets the classroom, it’s important for safety to be part of the conversation,” says Stuart MacLean, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board. “An investment in health and safety education and training will result in safer workplaces for our students and our workers, today and in the future.”
Initiatives between government and the Workers’ Compensation Board aim to improve worker safety, and include programs targeted at educating young workers on safe work practices.
“Safety is an important part of preparing our youth for the workforce and it’s central to success in any career,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “By embracing the importance of safety at a young age, these students will drive the change that’s needed to make safety a habit in every workplace.”