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2015 Champion Paul Racine

‘You’re never too old to learn,’ says Education Champion

Paul-Racine rs It’s not surprising that many adults over the age of 50 say they’d still like to find their dream job.

Sometimes the older we are the clearer our passions, skills and strengths become.

At the age of 54, Paul Racine has left behind three decades of industrial work to take on a completely new career in social services.

“If you’re lucky enough to find something you’re really passionate about, you’re never too old to learn,” said the Waterford resident, who received two nominations to become one of this year’s Education WORKS Champions.

After leaving school in Grade 11, Paul began a succession of jobs as a welder/fabricator and production worker.

“My parents were born in the early 1930s and had the mindset that you go out and work,” he said.

Paul returned to school to earn his General Educational Development Certificate (GED) in 2008 through Fanshawe College in Simcoe.

Then in 2010, facing layoff, he decided to make himself more marketable and obtain his welding tickets.

But his pursuit of further education wasn’t yet complete.

“In 2013, Paul decided that age and health were now factors for him and he needed to rethink his education,” said Tracey McIntyre of Fanshawe College, one of his nominators as an Education WORKS Champion. “He analyzed the job market, deciding on the developmental services worker program.”

It was Paul’s fiancé, Betty Lewis, a 2012 Education WORKS Champion, who encouraged him to pursue it. She also nominated him as one of this year’s champions.

“I have had contact with people with disabilities my whole life,” said Paul. “But without the support of Betty I probably wouldn’t have got into that field.”

With funding from Second Career, an Ontario government program that provides laid-off workers with money for tuition and other expenses, Paul graduated with honours from the DSW program last April.

He is now employed in residential support with the Norfolk Association for Community Living.

“The field is brilliant,” said Paul. “I look forward to going into work every day.”

McIntryre says he has made a genuine commitment to being a lifelong learner. “Paul is a shining example of grace and calm during difficult and challenging times. He is helpful, friendly and welcoming to others.”

Photo by Brian Thompson, Brantford Expositor