Olds Career High student pursues career interests through new Dual Credit program

Olds Career High student pursues career interests through new Dual Credit program

A world of opportunity has opened up for Christian Payuyo since he moved to Olds from the Philippines three years ago.

Not only is Christian taking three courses and preparing to write Diploma Exams through Olds Career High School, he is also earning college credits as a student in the Hospitality and Tourism Management dual credit program at Olds College. Christian had already graduated from high school in Manila, but wanted to attain formal Grade 12 credentials when he moved to Olds with his parents.

“It was one of my teachers at Olds Career High School who mentioned the Hospitality program to me,” said Christian. “She knows I am interested in becoming a chef, so she helped me look into the class. Now I’m taking two courses with Olds College and it is a very good opportunity. I like this program because I get to learn many different things and it’s a big opportunity for me. I feel blessed.”

The Hospitality and Tourism Management program moved from Red Deer College to Olds College three years ago, and Instructor Brenda Bauer moved with it. She has worked with the program for the past 20 years and was excited to create new curriculum in the unique and innovative hospitality program. The program lends itself well to opportunities in Canada’s thriving tourism industry, leading to an array of careers in food and beverage, accommodation, tour guiding, customer service, sustainable tourism and much more.

“Olds College has specialized programs that create a huge draw for students,” said Brenda. “Our students earn a Diploma in just 14 months through the accelerated program, while still completing 20 courses for the full 60 credits as with a typical Diploma. Students also complete 500 hours of work experience in the industry as part of the program, and they are enjoying the fast-paced environment of the program.”

Nine of the 20 courses in the program are eligible for dual credit. For his part, Christian is taking two of those courses: ‘Culinary Theory and Production’ and ‘Dining Experience and Service’. Many other high school students have taken courses through the Dual Credit programming available through the Community Learning Campus – a joint venture between Olds College and Chinook’s Edge School Division. It allows students to earn credits both at the high school and the college levels, and ignites further interest for high school students to transition to post-secondary learning.

“This has worked well for Christian and I feel like the other 20 students have taken him under their wing. They are working on events together and are a tight, cohesive group. They have really welcomed him into that environment,” said Brenda. “There are so many advantages for high school students and many career pathways are opening up through dual credit. I think it is encouraging high school students to really consider pursuing post-secondary.”

Dual Credit programming at Olds College is available to high school students throughout Chinook’s Edge, and includes courses in landscaping, welding, meat processing, fashion marketing, carpentry, equine, hairstyling apprenticeship and more.

“Chinook’s Edge students are reaching their learning goals and tapping into topics that have been unavailable to them until now, as more dual credit courses continue to open up,” said Jackie Taylor, Community Learning Campus Director. “This is key to supporting their transition into post-secondary, which will continue to open up higher levels of success throughout their lifetime.”