Investing even more time and money in continuing education courses or a certificate can seem risky – after all, you just spent years and tens of thousands of dollars getting your first degree or diploma.
But Greg Rogers, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Toronto (pictured right), says the job market is still very competitive in a number of industries and, for many people, going back to school is the only way to make yourself more employable by gaining the education, connections and work experience you need to get your dream job.
“Those with better education qualifications have a better chance of securing meaningful and rewarding employment,” he says.
“Combining work and upgrading education is very demanding, and takes a dedication and desire. The positive is that it will increase your opportunities for management or supervisory roles, or improved employment.” —Greg Rogers, Executive Director, John Howard Society of Toronto
He recently hired Dharmvishal Barot as a full-time Housing Counsellor after Dharmvishal completed a student placement at the society as part of the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice program at Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education. “Mr. Barot has been a great addition to our staff, bringing experience and innovation to our team.”
When Dharmvishal first arrived in Canada from India in 2007, he was a young, educated professional lacking only that critical Canadian experience. He had completed a diploma in Criminology and Correctional Management at the The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in India and worked with street youth there before coming to Canada.
“I was keen to transfer my skills, education and work experience to the field of social work and social services in Canada,” he says, but for more than a year, he could not find the right job in the social work profession.
“After volunteering at a few agencies, I felt the need to explore educational options to upgrade my knowledge and skills to be competent and employment ready in the Canadian job market.”
One of his friends had recently completed the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice program at The Chang School and recommended it to him, so he contacted the co-ordinator of the program and was accepted to the Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) bridging program based on his education and work experience from India.
It’s important for young professionals to understand that going back to school is not a commitment to be taken lightly, Greg says: “Combining work and upgrading education is very demanding, and takes a dedication and desire. The positive is that it will increase your opportunities for management or supervisory roles, or improved employment.”
Meanwhile, Dharmvishal very modestly credits The Chang School for his success. “With the strong networking and liaising opportunities provided by The Chang School, I was able to find an excellent field practicum, receive the Volunteer of the Year Award and secure full-time employment at the John Howard Society of Toronto,” he says.