CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Feb. 9, 2012 – More than 500 Grade 9 students, enrolled in French immersion or French first-language schools throughout the Island, will soon get a golden opportunity to explore the various bilingual career options that will be available to them on PEI. In addition, they’ll get a good motivational boost from Island Olympian Kara Grant.
French for the Future, in partnership with Canadian Parents for French, the province’s three school boards, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the University of PEI and RDÉE Prince Edward Island, is organizing this year two Local Forums – Feb. 28 in Summerside for students from the western half of the province and Feb. 29 in Charlottetown for those from the eastern half. Both Forums, bearing the theme “My French, My Future: Career Exploration Fair”, will be held at the Empire Theatres.
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is supporting the event, and other organizations and corporations are involved as sponsors.
“Our Local Forums will have three main goals: to show students the value of their bilingualism, to encourage them to pursue their high school and postsecondary studies in French and to give them a good overview of the bilingual career opportunities available on the Island, » explains Local Forum Coordinator Sylvie De Sousa.
All partners from the educational sector of course got involved to promote the importance and use of French in all facets of life. RDÉE PEI, the provincial francophone economic development council, came onboard particularly to work towards ensuring the province gets enough bilingual employees to fill future jobs in government, in the community and in the private sector on PEI.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into planning these Forums. We’re really hoping they can help the students realize that French is not just a school subject that they have to take, but that being bilingual is an important key that can help them access major career opportunities right here on PEI,” said De Sousa.
At the beginning of the event, the students will hear words of encouragement from Aubrey Cormier, assistant deputy minister of the PEI Government’s Acadian and Francophone Affairs Division.
Participants will then have a choice of attending three out of seven information sessions about careers in the health, education, tourism, media, justice, civil service and information technology sectors. All sessions will be delivered in French by people who work in those sectors.
During a fourth block of time, students will get to visit information booths set up by various postsecondary institutions offering programs and courses in French and pertinent organizations offering bilingual jobs or services.
Finally, the students will get to hear a motivational keynote speech by Kara Grant, PEI’s own modern pentathlon Olympian and bronze medal winner from the 2008 World Cup (the first Canadian to ever win a medal at this competition). The Stratford-born Grant, who is fully bilingual, grew up in the French immersion system on PEI.
CUTLINE: Reviewing the program for the French for the Future Local Forum are students from Queen Charlotte Intermediate School in Charlottetown: Sarah Bethune, Lorelei Kenny, Rory Lantz, Jeremy Thompson and Connor Moerike.
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