Frequently Asked Questions
How can I access a Career Centre?
To access services at Conestoga Career Centres, you can call, walk in or email to any centre
How much does a session cost at Conestoga Career Centre?
How can I access funded training?
This is one of the many options to discuss with your Career Work Coach as everyone's situation is unique. If you are eligible for funded training, your Coach will walk you through the guidelines and procedures.
What is the difference between a career, a job, an occupation and work?
A career refers to the total work-related experiences an individual has over the course of their life (i.e. an electrician). A job refers to a specific set of duties performed in a specific place (i.e. a self-employed photographer working from home). An occupation is a cluster of related duties that can be performed at various locations for different employers (i.e. engineer). Work means systematic and goal-directed activities that result in outcomes valued by the person working and/or by society. Work can be paid or volunteered.
What is labour market information?
Labour market information is the information you need to make sound decisions about your future. It includes information about occupational options, training programs, employment opportunities, industry growth and anything else you might want to know before making an employment-related decision.
Why do I need to know about the labour market?
Because career decisions are so important, you'll want to make sure you are well informed when making your choices. That's where labour market information plays a key role. Every week, we hear stories about the job situation in different industries and how some occupations are growing and others are not. You'll be able to make an informed decision by interpreting labour market information and decide how much weight to give it when you are making career choices. You'll be able to anticipate trends and see how they may affect decisions you are making!
You'll need to consider things like:
- Occupational Information,
- Industrial Information
- Labour Market and Social Trends
- Economic and Political Trends
How do I learn about trends and the labour market?
There are many different ways to explore trends and doing labour market research. For example: printed sources, audio/video/electronic sources and word of mouth.
Labour Market Information Sources: www.alis.gov.ab.ca/tips/archive.asp?EK=3318
Occupation Research & Labour Market Information – Useful Websites:
- Industry Canada- (external)
- Canadian Careers - (external)
- Canada Job Futures (National)- (external)
- Ontario Job Futures (Provincial) - (external)
- National Occupational Classification (NOC)- (external)
- Sector Councils- (external)
- Skilled Trades - (external)
- Working in Canada - (external)
How do I get information ‘first hand' or by word of mouth?
One of the most effective methods of obtaining more detailed information about a particular career is to conduct an information meeting with someone who holds a position that interests you. Information meetings are beneficial because they allow you to:
- Explore careers and clarify your career goal
- Expand your professional network
- Build confidence for your job interviews
- Access the most up-to-date career information
- Identify your professional strengths and weaknesses
- See the organization from the inside
Information meetings are not going out and asking for a job. They are meeting that allow you to ask questions to find out information you need to make an informed, confident decision about your future. You should do information meetings with people who are in the career that you are interested in, the supervisors of the position you are interested in, and graduates of training programs you may be considering.
Link: University of Waterloo - Informational Interviewing
Access: Information meeting format for employee/employer and tips sheet.
With all the changes in the workforce, have the skills employers look for changed?
Absolutely! As workplaces change and evolve, employees need to adapt to remain employable. The Conference Board of Canada developed a list of transferable, generic skills that employers look for in new employees grouped under Fundamental Skills, Personal Management Skills and Teamwork skills. Additionally, the Government of Canada and other international/national agencies have validated this and further defined nine Essential Skills that individuals need for learning, working and living.
- Conference Board of Canada: Employability Skills 2000+
- Towes: Essential Skills
- Employment and Social Development Canada : Essential Skills
What about working for myself, is it a good idea?
Many of the trends have opened the door for small business start ups. Small business is full of risks and rewards and many grow in huge enterprises. It may be a great idea and meet some of the needs mentioned above. Do your research and analyze your skills to be a good business owner and if your plan will be successful.
What are Recruitment Firms, I see so many listed on the job postings?
Recruitment Firms are businesses that have grown out of some of the trends of outsourcing Human Resources duties. Many of the firms hold contracts with employers to find employees to fill short-term or permanent vacancies. There are many types of firms and they go by a variety of names, such as headhunters, employment agencies, or staffing services. Get to know who does what and find out how they can work for you while you transition to a new career.
Where can I find money for retraining and skills enhancement?
- If formal education is the route best for you, investigate a variety options for covering costs of training and pick the ones that fit your situation the best.
- Budgeting & savings – A budget is an organized way of managing your finances on a regular basis. A good budget is a starting point for meeting your financial obligations and achieving your financial goals. Set aside a small amount of money towards educational costs. CanLearn Interactive website has some tools to help you assess your situation.
Link: “CanLearn” www.canlearn.ca - choose language, “on-line tools” and then “Financial Planner”
- Friends & Family – if you have researched into the field you wish to train in and present a sound plan and evidence for your decision, family and friends may be eager to assist you. Talk to them early on in your planning about gifts, inheritance, flexible loans (remember to put the agreement in writing!) or paying expenses directly.
- Life Insurance – Assess your need for life insurance, you situation may have changed. There may be policies that you can cash in and reinvest the money in your studies.
- Severance Pay – As per The Employment Standards Act "Severance pay" is compensation that's paid to a qualified employee who has his or her employment "severed." It compensates an employee for loss of seniority and job-related benefits. It also recognizes an employee's years of service.” Severance pay is often paid in a lump sum and is ideal for transitioning from old job to new, assisting with training costs if needed.
- Life Long Learning Plan --- “ The Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) allows individuals to withdraw funds from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to finance training or education for themselves or their spouse or common-law partner.” Link: “Service Canada : Lifelong Learning Plan”
- Bank Loan – Some financial institutions offer their own student loans. Be aware that these are not government-approved loans but regular loans with the word “student” attached.
- Line of Credit – With a line of credit, you are given access to a set amount of money and allowed to withdraw money, as you need. You pay interest only on the amount you withdraw.
- Credit Cards – Similar to Line of Credit. Beware of very high-interest rates.
- Grants, Bursaries, Awards, Scholarships – These are sources of funding that do not need to be repaid. Some are tied to academic standing and others to personal situation or need. Many are given through private sector and not-for-profit organizations that may or may not require a person be affiliated. Check with your or your spouse's employer for programs, as well. www.studentawards.com is a free Canadian search service that can help you locate information.
- Check Financial Aid Office of school of choice – Get in touch with the school you are interested in attending. Inquire about financial assistance (payment plans, sponsorship, bursaries, etc) that may be available for you. Often options are available that are not advertised so it might pay to ask.
- OSAP – Ontario Student Assistant Program – a loan program that provides assistance to students to help them meet the costs of post-secondary education. osap.gov.on.ca
- Canada Student Loan Program – Loans that help eligible full and part-time students finance their post-secondary education. http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/student_loans/cslp/
- Canada Study Grants – provides financial support to help qualifying post-secondary students achieve their learning goals. http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/learning/canada_student_loan/cgsp.shtml
- Second Career Strategy – A program to help eligible recently laid-off workers who require long-term skills training to find work in high-skill occupations that are in demand in the local labour market. http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/jobseekers/secondCareer.html
- People with Disabilities – a variety of government programs designed to assist people with permanent disabilities reenter the workforce. http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/postsecondary/careerplanning/disabilities.html
- Aboriginal Peoples – a number of programs designed to help Aboriginal people with training or post-secondary education. www1.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/audiences/aboriginal/education.shtml