Graduated with Personal Support Worker Diploma in 2017 and continues to take courses in pursuit of the Registered Practical Nurse Diploma
When John Degroot had the opportunity to make a career change into the healthcare field, he discovered the convenience and flexibility of online learning and the support services available at the local Contact North | Contact Nord online learning centre in St. Thomas. John, and his wife Nicole, who also completed an Early Childhood Education Diploma program through Loyalist College online, have four children between the ages of 2 and 8.
The area took an economic hit in 2009 when the Ford plant closed after decades of employing hundreds. Many, John included, were hired right after high school to work in the car manufacturing plant. Outgoing Ford employees were offered assistance with retraining when the plant closed, and John took this opportunity to take the Sterile Processing Certificate online, the beginning of his career move into healthcare. Upon completion of the certificate program, he landed a job in a local hospital.
Once he was working in the hospital setting, he confirmed he wanted to pursue a career as a registered nurse. The challenge was how he would be able to juggle family responsibilities, working and school.
When he learned about the online Personal Support Worker diploma program offered by Sault College, he reached out to Contact North | Contact Nord. He discovered he could participate in a bridging program between Personal Support Worker and Practical Nursing programs. With the help of Contact North | Contact Nord staff, John determined his credentials for entry to the Personal Support Worker program, got registered and developed a pathway to the Practical Nursing program.
“I do all my classes at home and then go into the centre to write the tests,” explains John. “It’s nice having someone here in St. Thomas to support me along the way.”
Sault College, based in northeastern Ontario, welcomes students from across the province through online learning. The interest and need for personal support workers is high and it is often the flexibility of online learning that attracts students to the Sault College program.
For students like John and his wife, flexibility and convenience are important to the task of juggling a busy family life and getting an education that leads to a good career.