Pictou County Con­tin­u­ous Learning As­so­ci­a­tion of­fers ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - BY SAM MACDON­ALD

For any­one look­ing to up­grade their cre­den­tials and get some help break­ing into the job mar­ket — or in find­ing their dream job, The Pictou County Con­tin­u­ous Learning As­so­ci­a­tion (PiCCoLA) can help.

PiCCoLA is of­fer­ing Level 1 and 2 Gen­eral Ed­u­ca­tional De­vel­op­ment (GED) prepara­tory cour­ses this year. Start­ing on Sept. 18, the in­sti­tu­tion will host part-time morn­ing classes in New Glas­gow at its lo­ca­tion on Archimedes Street, and in Pictou, at the NSCC School of Fish­eries.

Classes in New Glas­gow and Pictou are Mon­day to Thurs­day, 9 to 11 a.m. There will also be evening classes in Stel­lar­ton, at the NSCC Pictou cam­pus, on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.

“In all classes, the ma­jor­ity of the par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents come for up­grad­ing,” said Carol­lynne Ne­me­cek, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of PiCCoLA. “Last year, we had a gen­tle­man who was a Red Seal Chef, but (the com­pany he worked for) changed poli­cies.”

With­out his Grade 12 or GED, the chef was let go by his em­ployer, Ne­me­cek said. At that point, the chef took up classes with PiCCoLA, ul­ti­mately get­ting his GED.

“We’re get­ting a lot of peo­ple want­ing their GEDs for that kind of rea­son,” Ne­me­cek said.

PiCCoLA will also be launch­ing the Fam­ily Lit­er­acy group this month. “We in­vite par­ents — a lot of them are past stu­dents or stu­dents with school-aged children or preschool­ers — and they come for a cou­ple of hours, and do lit­er­acy ac­tiv­i­ties,” she said.

Then, in Novem­ber, PiCCoLA will launch Bridge to Suc­cess — a full-time pro­gram to help stu­dents build up es­sen­tial life skills. Those in­clude interview skills; com­puter knowl­edge; ba­sic math and read­ing skills; peo­ple skills — all done in conjunction with work terms.

“That can be for peo­ple who have a uni­ver­sity de­gree, but for what­ever rea­son, they’re floun­der­ing,” said Ne­me­cek. “It might be that they need some self-es­teem buildup. Our staff finds them job place­ments, they go out to work and they might find some­thing that’s for them, through those job place­ments.”

All pro­gram­ming of­fered by PiCCoLA is free of charge since the or­ga­ni­za­tion is funded by the Depart­ment of Labour and Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion. Last year, PiCCoLA taught a to­tal of 120 stu­dents in its var­i­ous cour­ses, at its lo­ca­tions through­out the Pictou County.

Although there are no new cour­ses planned this year, Ne­me­cek said she ap­proaches ev­ery aca­demic year with an open mind, be­cause “ev­ery year starts with you know­ing what you’re do­ing, and then every­thing branches out.”

“Last year we did a project with Pictou Land­ing First Na­tion — if you asked me about it last Septem­ber, I wouldn’t have known about it by then.”

Although the de­tails have yet to be con­firmed, Ne­me­cek said a pi­lot project fo­cus­ing on student as­sess­ment, in conjunction with the Nova Sco­tia School of Adult Learning, is also po­ten­tially in the works.

“Our teach­ers are re­ally keen and so if there are any pi­lot projects go­ing on, they’re al­ways ea­ger to try those kinds of things.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in classes with PiCCoLA should reg­is­ter by call­ing 902-485-7014 or 755-5827.

SAM MACDON­ALD/THE NEWS

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