For generations, the notion of finding a career or a job that was suited to abilities or passions in life was not a consideration.
Conversations relating to employment had more to do with a sense of obligation, a duty to provide and a general unspoken commitment. Nowhere was it mentioned or encouraged that joy or personal passion could even remotely become part of the equation.
Now, given the advent of technology and improved quality of life, conversations are more about having careers, not jobs.
By virtue of the recent Simon Fraser University Professional Linking Program initiative coming to Powell River, 14 residents are benefiting from the university satellite program which brings both university education and the freedom to consider a career.
The program is novel in its approach, but not altogether new. It is reminiscent of a government document issued in 1962, titled Higher Education in British Columbia and a Plan for the Future, that addressed the issue of access to education, and which by its very nature strove to bring university level education to remote communities in BC, to provide access to higher education, and, therefore, employment diversity.
The university program is designed for people currently working with children and youth in schools in a support capacity and recognizes the talents that already exist with these professionals. Students who enrol in this program would then be eligible for provincial teacher certification because the program provides a unique opportunity for well-experienced and qualified district support workers to transition to professional teaching careers. It is the only program in Canada that enables students to complete their teaching certificate requirements while working full time.
Maureen Mason, faculty associate with Simon Fraser University, identifies that this model supports an underlying need in small districts to build strength and capacity from within and reflects the changing nature of public education to be more inclusive, collaborative and responsive to what she calls community culture—something that has always been somewhat of a challenge.
In the 1960s, a pilot program to take education where it would not otherwise be available, helped to break down barriers to education and quality of life. New thinking around how to access these communities, especially with access to current and emerging technology, has always been a challenging task, but one people are now better equipped to overcome.