Just two months after graduating from Conestoga College with a Bookkeeping Diploma, Martina Jull is now working for an area accounting firm.
Her new position as an Accounting Technician is a far cry from her former job, working for years as a cleaner at factories and medical facilities.
Martina has been selected as a 2017 Education Champion by Education WORKS Alliance, after being nominated by CareerLink Community Employment Centre in Brantford.
Now 49, Martina began to realize a few years ago that her work as a cleaner was putting an increasing strain on her body. Then that work came to an end, leaving her unemployed.
Her husband, Randy, a contractor, encouraged Martina to take some time and think about going back to school. Remembering that she liked office-related courses while growing up in Switzerland, Martina investigated careers in that field.
She turned to CareerLink to help decide what to study, settling on bookkeeping. Then she used her own savings to start taking bookkeeping courses online through Conestoga.
Martina, like other adults, learned that online learning has its benefits, including reducing transportation costs, but it can also sometimes be a challenge.
"I found it hard to have to sit and learn again after being out of school for a long time," she says. "Also, studying from home comes with lots of distractions, so it required having a schedule for school, volunteering and work around the house."
Martina ended up making the honour roll at Conestoga.
Martina had kept in touch with CareerLink, and they helped prepare her to apply for jobs in her new field. She attended workshops, including on job hunting and interview skills, and they were able to help Martina find employment and then were able to help subsidize on-the-job training costs.
Today, Martina is learning how to apply her "book knowledge" to the working world in her new job. And she doesn't see that learning process ending, as she realizes how important it is for her professional development.
"I would like to keep up to date in the accounting field and continue taking courses to expand my knowledge."
Story by Mark Skeffington, Education WORKS Alliance