How to Gain Skills

Do you have the skills and education that employers want?  Not sure?  One of the best ways to expand your skills is through education.  Make sure that your education connects to occupations that fit your interests and skills.  Here are four steps to help you explore the right education for you. 

Step One:  Identify the skills in occupations that interest you. 
List your desired occupations and the education needed for that occupation. You can find the education requirements for each occupation at Working in Canada.  List the skills you possess that are required for that occupation.  List the skills you need to acquire for that occupation in the Occupational Skills (pdf) worksheet.

Step Two:  Look at what the schools offer. 
Do you need to go to school?  Make a list of what you want from a school or program.  Then, research schools and programs that fit your list.  You can use your library to find your education options.  Schools tend to tell you about strengths and may hide their weaknesses.  Only you can decide if a school is the right one to help you meet your career goals.

Use the tips listed below to see if you agree with the school's claims.

  • Read the materials from the school.  Is it accredited?  Do their courses match your goals?
  • Find out about the training.  How long will it take?  How much it will cost?  What about tuition, fees, supplies, and books?  Are there evening courses?  How well does it prepare you for occupations that interest you?
  • Talk to other students and employers. Do former students feel that they are prepared for their chosen occupation? Do employers hire students from that school?
  • Find out about the school’s equipment. Is it current? Is it similar to what you will use in the workplace?
  • Ask about services for students.  Do you need help with finances, daycare, tutors, computer skills, or other things? 
  • Ask about “must haves” to enroll.  Are there tests you need to pass?  Do you need a GED or high school diploma?  What else do students need to get enrolled?
  • Ask about credit options.  Can you transfer your credits from other schools? Can you get credit for prior learning? 

Step Three:  Track Your Research on Schools. 
Use the School Research Worksheet (pdf) to record what you learned from talking with schools.

Step Four: Choose Education Options.
Hopefully you have found several education options that fit your goals.  How do you choose?  Think about the research you did about occupations and schools.

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