study desk blog image smallI have had the pleasure of working  as a Career Consultant at Calgary Alternative Employment Services for almost three years.  I work with exceptional Candidates who have diverse skills, interests and abilities and are keen to contribute to the success of a company or business.  I also engage with local business diversity leaders who don’t only talk the talk, but walk the walk,  offering diverse, inclusive employment and I’m there to offer resources to help them reach that goal.

I am now also involved with the internal duties of collecting, perusing and disseminating the wealth of training and academic materials that come through CAES through a variety of  agencies and programs. These materials reflect workshops, courses, practicums etc., that are put together to offer additional learning and training to the Candidates we represent. There is Networx.2, Centric Health, CIWA, Alberta Human Services, various colleges and institutions to name just a few.  These opportunities of learning are espousing a practice that CAES holds in high regard; Lifelong Learning.

So what is lifelong learning?  Wikipedia’s definition states that lifelong learning is

…the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. defines it as

…the provision or use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives in order to foster the continuous development of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfillment.

CAES Career Consultants support our Candidates in their quest for additional learning.  CAES firmly believes that an employee who endeavours to add to their skill set will continue to contribute added value to their employers.  Our Candidates come to us with different levels of skills and training.  As employment is sought, it is noted if additional training is needed or desired.  The abundance of current and applicable programs, workshops and courses that are offered here in Calgary ensures that Candidates have the opportunity to engage with subjects and training which will further enhance their lifelong learning.

Working with CAES, I am representing several Candidates who are pursuing their dreams of adding to their repertoire of skills.  One CAES Candidate is currently working and is also enrolled in the Inclusive Post Secondary Program for Health Care Study at Bow Valley College.   Another Candidate is currently taking cash and inventory training in her place of employment. Another Candidate was able to add to his credentials by taking a specialized course in Forklift Operations, that was offered by an outside agency and taught at his place of work.  I am also working with a CAES Candidate who is currently looking for work, and by way of our discussions and research into the different vocational and technical programs,  is going to take some time to attend the workshops that will add to her work skills and knowledge base so that she is further qualified to contribute her skills to future employers and the community as a whole.

Enough cannot be said for the value of lifelong learning.  It provides benefits that reach far beyond just the student. Lifelong learning gives to the employer the benefit of a skilled, knowledgeable employee, to the family and social circle of the learner an empowered individual and to society as a whole a confident and contributing member.