Stettler Learning Centre could be first step in new career after pandemic

Updated: Apr 16

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/ECA Review February 16, 2021

The Stettler Learning Centre offers a bewildering array of options for people ready to move on with life after the COVID-19 pandemic. ECA Review/Screenshot

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Manager Erin Wilkie and student advisor Peggy Vockeroth stated the umbrella organization, enjoying a partnership with the Stettler & District Community Adult Learning Council and Campus Alberta Central, offers regional residents an array of career options that is truly astounding despite coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been positive and it’s been challenging,” said Wilkie at the learning centre office Feb. 11.

Wilkie stated not always knowing how the situation is going to change within a few days has been frustrating, but being able to re-open the office was a breathe of fresh air.

“It feels good to have people in the building,” she said.

Vockeroth stated the organization learned to adapt to the changing situation, accommodated by the group’s resilient team.

Wilkie stated if a curious resident comes to the centre for academic advising, the monthly New Futures program could be very attractive, as it’s intended for unemployed or underemployed people of any age.

It runs one week and the course days carry over to the next month if students can’t attend five straight days.

Wilkie noted the program offers help for people who may be unsure what career path they should take, and includes help like resumes, networking and much more, with evening learning options also available.

Wilkie stated the Stettler Learning Centre embraces a “laddering” system where students can place a piece or two of their employment puzzle and then move up into crafting more and more of their big picture with expanded learning, including general equivalent diploma (GED), tutoring, literacy skills such as English as a second language, high school courses, and even into apprenticeship or post-secondary education, all available in one way or another right in the Stettler Learning Centre.

Wilkie also pointed out many learning options are available online or in the evenings or both, so working people and single parents can also get involved.

Vockeroth pointed out popular career options, including healthcare aide and practical nurse, require certain courses and prerequisites, which can be arranged through the Stettler Learning Centre and with online options available, a lot of travel and time can be saved.

Vockeroth also pointed out pre-trades courses that can lead into career training for things like welding, carpentry and electrician.

For those looking for a change in careers but are worried about finances, Wilkie stated many programs are free of charge and many grants and subsidies are available.

The Stettler Learning Centre moved into its new location at 4911-51 street, the former Vision Credit Union building, in spring 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining steam. But Wilkie and Vockeroth stated the contractors performed brilliantly, and the considerable renovations resulted in a beautiful facility with a cozy, friendly atmosphere that encourages learning.

An official grand opening had to be postponed because of the pandemic, but the ladies are confident one will be held as soon as possible.

Wilkie noted that with the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the oil and gas industry in Alberta, this could very well be the time many Albertans are also changing their career paths.

“Come on in, we can help you,” she added.