Pictou County Continuous Learning Association offers educational opportunities
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.
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