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Community Partners Paving the Way for Future Careers

NetAccess partners with the Hamilton District Christian High Cooperative Education Program to provide students with real-world experiences that contribute to future education and career path decisions.

Co-operative Education has been part of the Hamilton District Christian High program for many years following its introduction into the Ontario curriculum in the late 1970’s.

While initially the program provided opportunities mainly in the skilled trades, the program now provides opportunities in a range of career fields. These continue to be important and valuable experiences, and over time, the program has continued to expand.

Hamilton District Christian High Co-op placements are now also available in pathways ranging from health care to the financial industry, real estate to veterinary science, and advanced manufacturing design to dairy farming.

Related: Venture & Cooperative Education

Recent employer partnerships have included the Hamilton Warplane Museum, Juravinski Cancer Center, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Stackpole International.

This past semester, grade 12 student Daniel Rintjema had the privilege of participating in a Co-op learning experience at NetAccess Systems Inc. in Hamilton.

NetAccess is one of Canada’s oldest independent Internet Service Providers and has expanded into Business Integration Solutions including solutions for Voice, Hosting (Datacenter/Cloud/Email/Web), Managed IT Services, and Internet connectivity (DSL/Fiber/Wireless).

Richard felt that the placement would be a good fit based on Daniel’s success in the Computer Programming course, as well as his natural talents on the Audio and Video Committee at Hamilton District Christian High.

NetAccess staff provided Daniel with some entry-level jobs at the beginning, so they could determine his technical competence. They were so pleased with Daniel’s work that they gave him several projects to help develop their “onboarding” and diagnostics tools.

“I’ve been working on a number of different projects involving software and server computer hardware,” said Daniel. “The largest one is developing a software solution that would allow the network technicians to take backups of their workstations and restore them quickly.

It has taken a lot of research and trial and error to get a solution that would fit the requirements of the network technicians while keeping the workstations as secure as possible.”

NetAccess has participated in the college and university co-op programs for the last two years, but the President, Don McNally, has just recently introduced the high school program to the company.

Today’s youth are becoming more and more technical at far younger ages, bringing fresh ideas and skills to our environment. NetAccess is striving to participate in many of the local school programs to allow students an opportunity to see real world IT infrastructure in action. At the same time, these programs give our company a feel for the next generation of technical minds at work.” – Don Russell, Professional Services Manager for NetAccess.

Co-op placements are a fantastic way for students to see how their studies are applied to business and/or corporate environments. At the high school level, it may play a very important part in the decision the student makes moving forward with education and career paths.

“At NetAccess we are looking for highly driven and technical students with a very strong personal interest in technology,” said Don. “This usually means that the student is near the top of their class at school and spends considerable time self-learning by trial and error. Daniel was able to pick up new tasks quickly and run with little guidance. He already has the drive and skill-set to succeed in the industry, and it was refreshing to have him in our midst.”

After graduating from HDCH, Daniel hopes to attend Mohawk College for Network Administration and Security Analytics.

My Co-op at NetAccess has given me loads of relevant experience and a head start getting into the Networking and IT field,” “After having the opportunity to work at a company like NetAccess I know for sure that’s what I want to get into. I love it!” –  Daniel Rintjema

The Venture/Co-op program combines a number of aspects of our school’s mission. It tries to help students not just answer the question, “What do I want to do as a career?” but also the deeper question, “Who do I want to be?” This aspect of identity and character is a key component to helping students plan their post-secondary pathway.

Tim Keller, an American theologian, and author suggests that “our work is God’s way of blessing others.” This puts our vocation and career in that broader vision of service that is so important to our mission at Hamilton District Christian High.

CHoneCharlene Hone
Communications Specialist