Job search leads to unexpected career

After working in the film and finance industries, Raj Gill found himself wanting to explore career options where he would be able to help people. A visit to an employment services centre to consider options for his own career path inspired him to pursue a role in the employment services field.

Raj’s research led him to the Career Development Practitioner Certificate program, which allowed him to network and secure his current role as a customized employment specialist with Avia Employment Services.

What are some of the day-to-day responsibilities in your role?
I’m responsible for building relationships with local employers and finding work experience opportunities for multi-barrier clients, which include people that are living with disabilities or have mental health barriers and have difficulty finding long-term employment.

Why did you decide to take the Career Development Practitioner Certificate?
I had initially been doing contract work in film and animation and transitioned into a stable role as an account manager at a bank. I found that while I enjoyed working with people in this role, I wanted to work in a field that would allow me to help them. I ended up at an employment services centre and was considering my career options when my case manager said that I would be perfect for a role in this field. After doing several informational interviews, I decided to pursue the employment services field as a career path and came across the Career Development Practitioner Certificate.

What was the most valuable part of the certificate for you?
That would have to be the opportunity to complete a practicum, hands down. It was because of the practicum opportunity in the full-time program that I ended up being employed in the field before I had even graduated. When I did my practicum, it ended up being a great place for me to network.

What is the most fulfilling part of your work?
I love learning about the person who is sitting in front of me and hearing their story. It’s not uncommon for me to check in with my clients over the course of a year and ask how they are doing in their new jobs. Many of them are not in the best situations, so the fulfilling part of my work is providing them with hope for the future.

Do you have any advice for prospective students considering applying to the program?
Ask yourself whether you’re a people person and whether you see yourself committing to working with people and opening doors for them. Also, do informational interviews—this industry is very open and we would love to talk about the work we do and whether it would be a good fit for you.

By Bernice Puzon