Grad leaves tourism for rewarding new career

Photo by Dan Toulgoet

Quy Le is glad he now knows the answer to the question, “What if?” 

Leaving his job in tourism to enroll in SFU’s full-time Career Development Practitioner Certificate had been a risk, but it’s since paid off. He’s now a career coach at Douglas College, helping students discover their next steps.

Quy had been considering a career change for some time. The tourism sector had been hit hard at the beginning of the pandemic, while he also found himself longing for a more fulfilling line of work. 

“I was one of the lucky ones who was able to maintain working throughout the pandemic, but I wanted my work to have a positive impact,” he says. “I was helping people, but only if they had a thousand dollars to spend on a travel itinerary.”

He began exploring other options. After doing some online research and considering opinions from friends who knew him well, Quy initially contemplated a career in HR to make use of his people skills. Instead, he came across the Career Development Practitioner program and thought it would be a natural fit for his skillset. 

Quy quickly found that the practical techniques he was learning about résumés and interviews could also be applied to his own job search. He credits the winning combination of earning the certificate and gaining experience in the field from his practicum and volunteer work with helping him land his current role. 

He also formed valuable relationships with his instructors and fellow students, and remains in touch with many of them, as they share news and job opportunities through their active network. Citing the SFU program’s high employment rate for graduates, he notes that two of his classmates were even hired alongside him at Douglas College. 

Photo by Dan Toulgoet

Now, he’s making a positive impact in students’ lives, he says, and he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

“I’ve had students come to me and let me know that the sessions that we had led them to their next job opportunity,” Quy reflects of the rewarding nature of his work. 

Looking back, he acknowledges that his decision to enroll in the program hadn’t been made without some hesitation. 

“I had a good-paying job, and there was no guarantee of a career waiting for me at the other end,” he explains. “But I decided to enroll anyway, because if I didn’t do it, I would’ve always thought, what if?”

He encourages anyone considering the certificate to approach the program with an open mind.

“One of the words that I always live by is to replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity. You’ll meet some fantastic human beings and learn so much.” 

By Bernice Puzon