Getting the right career qualifications

Employment specialist with the YMCA of the Okanagan offers advice to job seekers

Dear Wanda,

I know that employment centres used to offer assistance setting individuals up with opportunities to go to school, is that still the case?

I have a friend who is a single parent who would love to go back to school and start a career. She has a lot of ideas but is afraid to make the wrong decision and end up with certification that isn’t useful or a job that doesn’t cover the cost of child care. If you could get back to me with a little bit of information, it would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Being a Friend



Dear Friend,

Being out of the labour market for any meaningful length of time can generate uncertainty and even fear when preparing to jump back in.

You are being a friend indeed by offering to help with the first few steps and revealing a door or two. The plunge can be a little less uncomfortable when there is a good support system in place: family, friends, community, a case manager or any combination (everyone needs their own cheerleading squad).

If your friend is considering options for transition, she could start by taking note of what she is already qualified for with her current skills and abilities as well as where her interests lie. Study the postings that hold interest and record the required qualifications.

Researching local job postings can be an eye-opening way of discovering what employers are asking for as well demystifying ideas that all well-paying jobs require years of expensive training.

Up-to-date labour market information can be found on the WorkBC website: or with a basic web search to get a good picture of what is available, working conditions, pay scales and individual suitability.

Training is not always the answer. The key to making a solid career decision with lasting results and a regular paycheque is research. Finding the right job or a dream job can come about with a combination of an effective self-marketing strategy, appropriate certification when needed and good old curiosity: keep asking questions.

A case manager/employment specialist can assist with career planning as well as information on available training and funding opportunities.

If you have a question for Wanda Kareer, email her at with Wanda Kareer in the subject line.




This Wanda Kareer column was written by Gali Reardigan, employment specialist with the YMCA of the Okanagan. If you are looking for job search help, contact one of the Y’s WorkBC Centres in the South Okanagan. Call us toll free at 1-855-770-5627 or visit our website at