Conestoga news

March 2, 2011 12:00 PM

WSIB Students Succeed with Courage & Support

Being forced to make a career change is not easy under any circumstances, but needing to re-train because of an accident at work is one of the hardest. Not only are there financial and family worries, but dealing with physical rehabilitation and pain in addition to mental stress requires courage and perseverance.

The School of Career and Academic Access collaborates with WSIB to guide and support WSIB clients on their pathway to retraining and a successful transition for decades. Before starting their post-secondary programs or training, many WSIB clients are students in our Academic Upgrading ( AU ) program, where they not only refresh and improve their academic knowledge and skills, but learn again how to study and learn after being absent from school, often for many years.

Take Bob for example.

Bob worked as an industrial saw operator in a metals company. After his accident and painful rehabilitation, he enrolled in AU in 2007 to prepare himself for our Robotics and Automation Program. While possessing an OSSD, his study skills and his math skills in particular were very rusty; and his program of choice requires a high level of math and computer skills. He credits the high expectations and deep dedications of his AU teachers and the rigorous demands of the courses for his success in the post-secondary program. What helped also was his re-awakened interest in drawing and design, and, of course, his own determination to succeed. While in third year, he was written up in the Spoke newspaper because he not only designed a working robot, but built his from scratch and added a number of bells and whistles, going way beyond the assignment. Bob is now in his fourth and final year and he is looking forward to working again.

Derek was about 40 when his accident occurred. While going through rehabilitation and developing his retraining plan he was determined to pursue a successful career in a business environment. He started with AU, which, he says, was absolutely critical in providing the academic and study skills to be successful in his General Business program. He spoke very highly of several of his teachers and emphasized how supportive and helpful he found them. After graduating from General Business, Derek completed the Human Resource Management program and graduated with high marks in 2006. After some contract work, Derek is now the HR Manager of a large warehousing and distribution company. It was a long hard road, he says, but his determination and perseverance and a highly successful outcome made it worthwhile.