Jeff Schwaabe profile picture

Jeff Schwaabe

At 58, IT professional Jeff Schwaabe is set to embark on a new career in project management.

“The staff explain the choices thoroughly so you have a solid understanding when you make your decision.”

South Simcoe

Area of Study
Project Management

Calling all

project managers

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“I was no stranger to online learning and in the pandemic it was the only option”

Jeff Schwaabe is living proof that someone with two degrees and decades of experience can still do a complete career U-turn (or two) later in life.

Having studied business at York University and political science at the University of Guelph, Jeff worked for years in IT as a network engineer and team lead, among other roles.

But in 2018, when much of his networking services group was outsourced, he and most of his departmental colleagues lost their jobs. So after 32 years in IT, it was time to try something altogether different.

“I wanted to work with horses so I got certified in equine massage therapy — it’s from one end of the spectrum to the other,” says Jeff, 58. “I also got certification in first aid and emergency care for horses, graduated with a certificate in equine welfare from University of Guelph and got licensed to work with racehorses.”

But when Jeff injured his back, it kept him from working with horses full-time, which meant another career change was in the cards.

“The staff explain the choices thoroughly so you have a solid understanding when you make your decision.”

Getting in touch with Contact North | Contact Nord helped him figure out the next direction.

“The nature of my IT work was kind of a niche field so I looked at my skills and thought project manager would be a good fit,” Jeff says.

“I was no stranger to online learning, and in the pandemic it was the only option, really. It was great to have the initial meeting with Samantha (at the Georgina online learning centre) on my background, my history and what I was interested in. She took that away and researched some programs and provided me with different choices on where I could do the learning on MS Project. We had a follow-up call on all the options and I was able to choose the one that best suited me.”

Jeff completed a path from LinkedIn Learning on project management as well as a GALE course, Introduction to Microsoft Project 2019/Office 365.

“The course was very thorough and I now have a solid understanding on how to use the software. This was exactly what I was looking for,” he says.

“Contact North provides a lot of value. It’s very dynamic, not one-dimensional. The staff explain the choices thoroughly so you have a solid understanding when you make your decision. The feature I really liked is follow-ups once every week or two. You keep in touch. It’s not just that you’re on your own.”

With his studies complete, Jeff is now turning his attention to the job search, confident he’ll find the right fit.