School Within a College

What is School Within a College (SWAC)?

School Within a College (SWAC) is a flexible and responsive program intended to support students in obtaining a high school diploma in an environment that addresses their learning style, personalizes programming to meet their high school educational needs, and exposes students to post-secondary opportunities. The program brings together four school districts (Red Deer Public, Red Deer Catholic, Chinook's Edge, and Wolf Creek) and Red Deer College. Students complete their high school course credits through a combination of classes with their home high school and technical training classes at RDC. RDC’s technical training classes provide students with credit toward their first period training as an Automotive Service Technician (AST) or Welder, as chosen by the student. The technical training class also counts towards 19 credits in 3400 CTS course as listed below.

Automotive Service Technician Apprenticeship Course Summaries

Course ASA3400:  Basic Tools & Materials
Course ASA3402:  Vehicle Service Information
Course ASA3405:  Electrical Principles
Course ASA3410:  Electrical Circuits
Course ASA3412:  Electrical Service
Course ASA3415:  Frames & Undercarriage
Course ASA3420:  Steering Systems
Course ASA3425:  Suspension Systems
Course ASA3430:  Alignment Procedures
Course ASA3435:  Brake Fundamentals
Course ASA3440:  Disc & Drum Brakes
Course ASA3445:  Brake System Repairs
Course ASA3450:  Wheels & Drive Lines
Course ASA3452:  Maintenance & Trailers
Course ASA3455:  ASA Practicum A
Course ASA3460:  ASA Practicum B
Course ASA3465:  ASA Practicum C
Course ASA3470:  ASA Practicum D
Course ASA3900:  Apprenticeship Safety

Welder Apprenticeship Course Summaries

Course WDA3401: Tools & Equipment
Course WDA3403: Oxyfuel & Plasma Arc
Course WDA3406: Electricity & Metals
Course WDA3407: Symbols & Drawings
Course WDA3408: Weld Faults
Course WDA3411: Wire-Feed Welding
Course WDA3413: Gases & Maintenance
Course WDA3415: GMAW On Mild Steel
Course WDA3420: FCAW & MCAW On Mild Steel
Course WDA3423: Mild Steel Welds
Course WDA3427: Mild Steel Pipe Welds
Course WDA3429: Aluminum & Saw
Course WDA3432: Welding Math 1
Course WDA3437: Welding Math 2
Course WDA3445: WDA Practicum A
Course WDA3450: WDA Practicum B
Course WDA3455: WDA Practicum C
Course WDA3460: WDA Practicum D
Course WDA3900: Apprenticeship Safety

What are the benefits of SWAC?

  • Students earn high school and post-secondary credits in their grade 12 year
  • Students gain experience with college level programs by building confidence and expanding learning opportunities
  • Students bring more skills to employers in that they have demonstrated a desire to pursue a career in either AST or Welder
  • Students may be able to complete their grade 12 year earlier than the end of June

What is a day in the life of a SWAC student?

The SWAC program delivery model means students attend technical training classes at RDC. Technical training classes run six hours a day until all CTS credits have been accomplished and students are prepared to challenge their first-period Apprenticeship exam. This structure provides increased accessibility for students from rural school divisions and increased opportunities for students to participate in some of their home school grade 12 activities. This model also provides an opportunity for schools to deliver course content unique to their needs (e.g. Religious Studies for students enrolled in Catholic Schools).

What do you need to know?

Entrance into the School Within a College Program:

  • The student should have a minimum of 65 credits completed, including the following recommended courses:  Eng 20-2, Math 20-3, Social Studies 20-2, any 20 level Science (with the exception of Science 24 unless upgrading to Science 10), HCS 3000, or any related CTS courses in the TMT cluster
  • Excellent attendance is a requirement of the SWAC program
  • The calendar for the technical training will not follow the regular high school calendar, and as a result, students may be expected to attend the program on days that their high school counterparts have off
  • Students are expected to contact their instructors in advance if they will be absent or late.
  • Students need to be prepared for the rigors and expectations of a college program
  • Students must be able to get themselves to RDC and will need to supply personal protective equipment (PPE – steel toed boots and coveralls - safety glasses will be provided by RDC)
  • Tuition and the cost of the AST or Welding student resources will be covered by SWAC project funds

What do I do next?

  • Talk to your high school counselor / Dual Credit Coordinator about your options.
  • Registration forms can be printed from
  • Students will be interviewed and notified regarding acceptance before the end of May
  • A parent/student orientation session will be held at RDC in late June
  • A “Welcome to SWAC” BBQ will be held for all students at the end of August

Questions about the technical training at RDC can be directed to:

David Pye
Associate Dean | School of Trades and Technologies
phone 403.343.4005 | fax 403.314.2491
Email david [dot] pye [at] rdc [dot] ab [dot] ca (subject: SWAC)