When he lost his factory job three years ago, Craig MacAskill decided to view it as an opportunity.
Through Career Link, a Brantford - based service offering career assessment, remediation and resources, Craig was connected with the Second Career Program.
Inspired by a family member who refused to let visual impairment limit them, MacAskill decided to research a career as a social service worker.
He spoke to those working in the field and spent time volunteering. Then he enrolled in the Social Service Worker program at Mohawk College with a long-term goal of working with the visually challenged at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind or at Brantford's W. Ross Macdonald School, which provides instruction to blind and deaf-blind students.
"I thought that I was going to be the old guy, going back to school at 29. But there were people there in their 50s and even older. Seeing that really reinforced that it's never too late to go back to school."
Currently in his second year of study at Mohawk, Craig continues to co-ordinate his time between classes, placement hours, working, and juggling his finances.
He received Employment Insurance for a period of time and gets support from Second Career cover some tuition and book costs. But, like most students, he has had to work hard to cover his expenses and be frugal.
"Besides finances, my biggest challenge has been adjusting to student life," said the Brantford resident. "Although I do have to say that I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it has been."
Story by Jaymie Nelson
Photo by Keepsake Photography