The bright red tomato elicits a smile from Elina as it lands in her palm.
She wears the part of a professional prep cook well, and with pride.
Elina embraces her role during a choreographed lunch-rush dance inside the White Spot kitchen.
“I like weighing different foods and portioning them,” she says.
Working alongside Elina is prep cook Parminder Purewal, who commends Elina for her ability to follow instructions and her positive demeanour.
Elina is an NVSD inclusive education student and a few weeks into her work experience placement at White Spot Lonsdale.
With this opportunity, Elina is adding another job to her growing resume.
In the fall of 2019, Elina served coffee and treats at the Education Services Centre’s Higher Grounds (Chílhinup) Café.
Elina is building her job readiness, self-awareness, employability skills, and is applying what she has learned in the classroom setting to the workplace, explains Kristina Kildaw, a Carson Graham Secondary learning services teacher.
“With the support of her job coach (NVSD education assistant Tracy Day), Elina is completing tasks such as bagging food items and helping in the kitchen,” says Kildaw.
“Elina’s work experience at White Spot is helping her prepare for her transition from secondary school to the world of work.”
White Spot Lonsdale general manager Roanne Corteza says the restaurant is happy to provide inclusive work experience opportunities, “because we want students to develop job-specific skills to prepare them for the demands and expectations in the workplace.”
While at White Spot, Elina will gain interpersonal skills and self-confidence, among other life skills on the road to personal and professional growth.
Other employers should be open to providing an inclusive work experience opportunity, adds Corteza, because these students are our future.
“We need to equip them and set them up for success,” she says.
On behalf of North Vancouver School District, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation to you, the employers. Your recognition and active support of Career Programs and Work Experience for complex learners helps to make these programs a success. Your willingness to give time and provide training is valued by students, parents and staff of NVSD44.