Finishing his Grade 12 has changed Carl Grieve’s life.
“The best move I’ve ever made was to get my education. I’d hate to think where I’d be without it,” said Carl, a Brantford resident.
When Carl left school with his Grade 10, the job “situation was a lot different.” He was able to get a job, and worked in the manufacturing industry for many years. Happy in that job, Carl gave no thought to completing his education. When the company closed the plant to move operations to the United States, Carl was laid-off and he began searching for a new job. He found his lack of education was a major obstacle.
“Every corner your turned, there was always a hurdle that said you had to have Grade 12.” Carl said. But he saw these as hurdles, not roadblocks. Recognizing the changing economics of the city, Carl realized that he “had to get Grade 12 if I’m going to get a half decent job.”
With this realization, Carl credits a career counsellor, Rose, for giving him the final push to go back to school. Carl went to Grand Erie Learning Alternatives (GELA) adult education program at the City Centre campus in Brantford to have an assessment done. He received maturity credits through Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside secondary school. Carl had to complete four credits to achieve his diploma.
As 58 years old, Carl did face some challenges, including learning how to use the computer. He also balanced a part-time job and his studies, sometimes staying up until 1 a.m. to finish his homework. But he stayed on track and within two years of being laid off he had finished his Grade 12.
Carl is now employed full-time with Brantford Transit as a bus driver. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
“I see so many people who would have the potential for a good job, if they had the education, and I tell them to go to GELA to get it started,” Carl said. “There will be little bumps in the road, but you get over the bumps and it becomes easier.”
Story and photo by Rob Rombouts