As of 2016, 54% of Canadians aged 25-64 had either college or university level credentials. With so many qualified people in the workforce, landing a job is more competitive than ever.
More and more students are looking towards additional schooling to gain an advantage when entering the workforce.
One of these students is Meagan Bednarik. She graduated from Brock University with an honours in child and youth studies and is now at Fanshawe College to get her diploma in social service work. Her end goal, is to be a social service worker
She enjoyed her time at Brock but recognized the need for hands-on application.
“I knew that Fanshawe College would be very hands on- in second year, 3 days a week is placement. That’s one of the reasons I chose the regular track over fast track, because you get double the amount of placement hours which is a huge asset in the social service worker field.”
Now in her second year at Fanshawe and completing her placement hours, Bednarik has even more schooling to look forward to.
“Specifically, with my profession, doing research and asking people at my placement and in the field; these days you require a master’s degree or something even higher. So, I’m currently in the process of filling out my master’s application which is crazy, because that means I’ll have 8 years of post-secondary.”
But this isn’t how it always was, Bednarik says the level of what is considered qualified to be a Social Worker is evolving. While she knows practicing social workers who have a college diploma, her placement will no longer accept job applications without a Master’s degree.
Teri Hern is the Manager of Admissions at Western’s School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and knows the demand is high for more education. She knows that some people are intimidated by the application process but encourages anyone interested to apply.
“Plan ahead, there are certain things you can do to improve your application. Maybe you want to make a connection with someone who can be a potential supervisor… There are certain things you can do to set yourself up for the future, and I would really encourage people to do that and not just think ‘Oh, I’ll never get in so I’m not going to apply’.”
As for Bednarik, she has spent the last year taking every opportunity for extra experience, taking on volunteer opportunities for Kid’s Helpline and CMHA. She hopes this will help her master’s application stand out. She said she is nervous to apply, but excited for what the future holds.
“I feel like a forever student.”