After earning a Human Resources Studies Certificate through St. Clair College Continuing Education, Afaf Najjar-Tatsu opted to return to school and complete the Business Administration – Human Resources Advanced Ontario College Diploma, also through part-time studies. Graduating in 2014, she chose to pursue a degree as well. Afaf is now an Employee Relations Consultant at Union Gas.
Afaf has positive memories of the Continuing Education courses she completed. "Many of the facilitators invited guest speakers to our class to share real life experiences, insights, learnings and areas of opportunities from the field of Human Resource Management. Many of the students in my program were adult learners. We capitalized on our own life experiences, as employees and employers and openly shared with each other. We were comfortable to constructively challenge each other and we were encouraged to share openly in a safe environment."
The courses Afaf completed at St. Clair College prepared her for a challenging and satisfying career. "What I enjoy most about the work I am doing now is contributing to the development of our employees, and the overall success of our corporation…. Human Resources Management has transformed over the years from an administrative function to a satisfying career with multiple opportunities and room for advancement.
"My advice for someone considering going back to school and completing the Human Resources Management program or any other program is to take the first step and get started. Just do it!" Afaf says. "Oftentimes, the idea of doing something can be more intimidating than actually doing it. I balanced going back to school with family responsibilities and full time employment. I was fortunate enough to have the support of my family and my company from beginning to end. It was a lot of work and required a significant amount of discipline; however, the value proposition was well worth it. I would not be where I am today if I hadn't gone back to school. It was one of the best decisions I have made and I am excited to continue furthering my education in the years to come."
"I was at a crossroads," says Beth Lalonde. "I had been working in dental for fifteen years and while I was able to help people in that field, I knew that I wanted to serve the public in a different way. It became really clear that it was time to change careers. I jumped in with two feet and went back to school."
Having finished the Chemical Dependency Counselling Program in 2015, Beth reflects, "I loved the knowledge as well as the hands on skills I gained in the program. We got a wealth of information. I really felt at the end that I was walking away from the experience with knowledge and confidence that I left with the core skills to be successful.
"I am now working at the Canadian Mental Health Association, building on my education. I also manage a medical office and am co-facilitating an IChooseMe anger management/empowerment course for women at a crossroads. Everything I learned in my Chemical Dependency Counselling program is transferable to all of those experiences.
"My advice to others who are considering a leap into a new career like this one: do your homework and educate yourself on the requirements as well as on what you will get out of it when you're done. You get out of it what you put into it. If you really want something, you take in so much more. You have to really push yourself to make those contacts, and educate yourself. Jump in with both feet. You've got nothing to lose."
Huda Bouti graduated from the Language Interpreter Certificate Program in 2011. She has been a Language Interpreter with the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County since 2012.
"Being a language interpreter means that I am able to help people who are experiencing hardship in their lives," she says. "I enjoy being able to help them, and to connect the two parties together so that they can solve problems, but it also helps me to appreciate my own life and see how much I am blessed.
"I enjoyed the training very much. It was informative and helpful. St. Clair College's Language Interpreter program is affordable and makes it possible for people to accomplish their goals. In the program, I learned to be impartial, non-judgmental, respectful, accurate, and honest. I use those lessons every day."
Huda has advice for anyone who is interested in pursuing the Language Interpreter Program. "Learn every day. Read the newspaper and learn new words. Carry a dictionary with you and learn five new words per day. To be an interpreter, you have to be very proficient in English and the other language already, but you can't stop: you must also love to keep educating yourself."
Dave Pope began teaching in St. Clair College Continuing Education in 1991. He is now celebrating his twenty fifth year as a part-time instructor.
St. Clair College Continuing Education instructors are industry professionals who bring a wealth of current, real world knowledge and experience into the classroom for the benefit of our learners… helping students to master and apply skills that they, too, are using on a regular basis. Dave Pope is just one of the many dedicated Continuing Education teachers who are the key to our learners' success.
"The reason I keep teaching is simply the joy of helping people," Dave explains. "I focus first and foremost on the importance of 'quality' in your work. I feel it is important for students to never lose sight of that. It's a great feeling to see my students taking pride in their work."
For anyone contemplating the pursuit of part-time studies, Dave offers this advice. "Life is short. Just do it. Learning is easy, fun, and rewarding!"