Reskilling for a better future
Shane Mark turned a job loss into an opportunity to reskill and change careers.
Shane Mark, a welder by trade, has been through challenging times. When the company that employed him closed its doors, Shane found himself without work. He chose to view his change of circumstances as an opportunity to reskill and change his career path.
Reskilling is the process of learning new skills for a different job or career.
I was anxious about starting... but everyone was very welcoming and very easy to communicate with.
Shane knew that going back to school wouldn't be easy, but he had family support, the opportunity to study online, and the flexibility he needed to balance school and home life. He decided to become a stay-at-home dad and a student.
He is now a graduate of the Occupational, Health and Safety Diploma.
"I was quite nervous," says Shane, "I was anxious about starting... but everyone was very welcoming and very easy to communicate with."
Shane had always been interested in health and safety. "Initially, I was in a certificate in the health, safety and environment program. When it changed to a diploma program, I decided to see it through."
Shane learned quickly that setting a schedule that aligns with your home life is important, and that it's okay to set boundaries for yourself and others.
"The Saturday morning class was always a funny time," he says. "I'd put a sign on our home office door — I'm in a meeting — so my family could wave through the glass. They'd try to be quiet and then something would hit the floor and they'd feel bad... they got a real kick out of that."
Like most Continuing Education students, Shane was hesitant about going back to school, but for him, it soon turned into an adventure he enjoyed.
"Well, first it was eye opening because I did it all online. The last time I was in school, online wasn't even an option. It took a little bit to get used to the online delivery system, but I found it convenient and accessible, and the self-paced aspect was great. I knew with my home schedule I could do stuff at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. so that was easy to manage."
"I think initially my kids didn't fully understand what I was doing, but now that they're old enough, I believe they realize that I was doing it to better myself and hopefully open some doors. Also, I wanted to show them that you can just keep learning as there's always something you can do if you're interested in it to explore."
I saw it as an opportunity and I saw it through. I was never much of a student in the past... it took me a long time to become a dedicated student, and I'm glad I did it.
Shane was fascinated by the diversity in his classes and the excellent support students received from instructors. He found it exciting to be studying alongside students from all over the world, working in similar fields, taking the same courses.
"Being in Calgary, I had assumed it would be a lot of oil and gas workers. But it wasn't. For example, there was one student with a theatre background; she wanted to learn how to apply health and safety to her industry. That was interesting to me. Getting to know the different people online was an extremely worthwhile experience. It may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed the online aspect."
"I found the instructors incredibly helpful. They are always willing to explain things in the simplest of terms. If you're having an issue with anything, you don't hesitate or worry that they're too busy to answer. I would fire off emails to instructors and within a 24-hour period, I would get an answer. You can reach out to other classmates too."
"I saw it as an opportunity and I saw it through. I was never much of a student in the past... it took me a long time to become a dedicated student, and I'm glad I did it."
For students like Shane, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program provides the advanced training and professional development needed to be qualified and up-to-date in that field. The laddered OHS program consists of two certificates and a diploma. Graduates of the diploma have the required education credits to write the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CSRP)® exam.
Shane Mark, Graduate
Occupational Health and Safety Diploma