“I knew I didn’t always want to be there,” said the 28-year-old, who had been working at a local call centre for five years when the company closed its doors. “It was actually a really great opportunity because it allowed me to apply for Second Career at Lambton College.
“I was ecstatic.”
The government-funded program is designed to assist those who are unemployed and willing to commit to a long-term training plan, in order to transition to new careers in growing areas.
Morin, who had developed a keen interest in administration work, was approved to the college’s Office Administration – Executive (OAEX) program, a two-year diploma, plus co-op, geared towards students seeking rewarding careers in business, industry, government, manufacturing, education, transportation, hospital departments (particularly administration), law and other professional services.
“I was really, really nervous about returning to school; I didn’t know what to expect from a college experience,” said Morin, who had been out of the classroom for nearly a decade.
But she was pleased to see that many of her classmates were mature students who, like her, were there because they wanted to be.
“I made sure that I was just focused on getting the best grades I possibly could,” said Morin, who, during her two years, maintained a 4.0 G.P.A., completed a work study, landed a co-op position, and received the Dean’s Award — given to the graduating student with the highest academic standing in his or her respective program.
“Our teachers were very supportive, and they wanted us to succeed,” she said. “They all had actual experience in the field of Office Administration, which made learning a lot easier.”
In an independent study, the OAEX program boasted 100% employment in a related field for 2011 graduates, while 94% were employed in 2010.
Upon graduation, Morin was offered a contract as an Administrative Assistant with Sarnia’s Imperial Oil — the most integrated fuels, chemicals manufacturing and petroleum research facility in Canada — where she is now a permanent, full-time employee.
“The program was exactly what I had hoped for. Everything I learned, I actually do apply into my job now,” said Morin, whose diverse job description includes everything from co-ordinating meetings, to incident reporting, to performance appraisals.
“Without Lambton, I would have never gotten my foot in the door,” she said, noting that choosing college was the best decision she’s ever made.
“After high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do yet, so I took some time off,” she said. “When I decided to go to college, I knew it was the best route to take.
“It definitely gave me the edge that I needed.”