Re­ces­sion sees rise in adult learn­ers, ed­u­ca­tors say

More laid-off work­ers hit­ting the books

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail

As Al­ber­tans still bear the brunt of the re­cent eco­nomic down­turn, with pro­vin­cial un­em­ploy­ment rates at 7.1 per cent as an­nounced by Stat­sCan last week, Drumheller fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties have no­ticed an up­take of laid off and un­em­ployed work­ers in­ter­ested in re­vis­it­ing ed­u­ca­tion.

Cam­pus Al­berta and Drumheller Outreach staff have both iden­ti­fied an in­crease in adult learn­ers look­ing to fin­ish their high school di­ploma or com­plete a GED.

“We’ve def­i­nitely seen an in­crease in stu­dents who come in for that pur­pose,” said Jenn Paulger at Drumheller Outreach, which of­fers high school ed­u­ca­tion. “Over the win­ter there has def­i­nitely been an in­crease in work­ers see­ing what their op­tions are and what they need to look for in or­der to get ex­tra cour­ses or up­grad­ing.”

Cam­pus Al­berta’s Dana David­son said she’s in­creased class sizes in or­der to ac­com- mo­date the in­flux of stu­dents, even hav­ing to put some on wait­list.

“A lot of the new stu­dents have been let go or no­tice they’ve had more trou­ble find­ing a job be­cause there’s more com­pe­ti­tion now,” said David­son. “Say some­one work­ing in the oil­patch is let go, they are more ex­pe­ri­enced and qual­i­fied than oth­ers that would usu­ally fill those jobs.”

“It’s a vi­cious cy­cle. Peo­ple come in in­quir­ing about post­sec­ondary or fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion and I can see they want to go through with it but are hes­i­tant be­cause it re­quires spend­ing money. Now is the time to fo­cus on im­prov­ing your­self but you’re strapped for money. Be­fore, you had the money to do it but were too busy work­ing,” said David­son, adding that govern­ment stu­dent loans are avail­able and at low in­ter­est rates and do not need to be paid un­til af­ter ed­u­ca­tion is fin­ished.

But both Paulger and David­son say eco­nomic down­turns and sub­se­quent lay­offs of­fer an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove your­self while un­em­ployed.

“Ed­u­ca­tion is never a waste, it’s al­ways an in­vest­ment and, you know, it kind of forces you into think­ing ‘what do I re­ally want to do if this is the time I want to do it,’ and de­cide what path you want to go on,” said David­son.

“Some­times you end up in a job but its not some­thing you re­ally want to do. It’s a good time to sit down and do some soul search­ing to find what new paths you want to take.”

“Jobs are chang­ing all the time,” says Paulger at Drumheller Outreach, which will be of­fer­ing a one month sum­mer school in July for those look­ing to do some up­grad­ing. “If you find you’re skillsets or de­sires are else­where, it can help stu­dents fig­ure out what pre­req­ui­sites are needed for dif­fer­ent post-sec­ondary pro­grams and go from there.”

mailphoto by Kyle Smylie

Drumheller Outreach and Cam­pus Al­berta ed­u­ca­tors have no­ticed a rise in laid off work­ers and adults in­quir­ing into fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion op­tions due to the eco­nomic re­ces­sion in Al­berta.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.