In 2012, at 40 years old and with a coveted position as project manager of network operations and finance of a large telecommunications company, Anna Bevilacqua was laid off. She had been working at the company for 15 years. She worried that as a single mother of a 10 year old boy, things would be difficult. But she turned her precarious circumstances into a lifetime opportunity thanks to Adult Ed.
Newly unemployed, she decided to improve her professional skills and maximize her opportunities to find a new job. She knew how brutally competitive the job market was compared to 15 years ago.
After some diligent research she chose to meet with a Hastings Education Centre academic advisor.
But the idea of going back to school after so many years scared her, she says.
"At first I was skeptical," says Bevilacqua about going back to an educational institution. "I was older, and I worried that maybe I couldn't retain everything that was taught. But I felt so supported. Staff members assured me that I would be okay."
To help allay Bevilacqua's concerns of how her new endeavor would affect her child, Adult Ed staff provided a flexible and customized schedule that suited her.
With the schedule in her back pocket, in September of 2012, she enrolled in Accounting 11 and Business Information Management courses at Hasting Adult Education Centre. These courses were stepping stones to the post-secondary programs she was interested in taking later.
She says she always felt the extra support from instructors at Hastings Adult Education Centre because they always made themselves available for extra help.
"I took their tutoring sessions and they helped me a lot," says Bevilacqua. "I sometimes got shy about asking questions but instructors there had an ability to make me feel at ease."
On January 25 of 2013, Bevilacqua graduated from Adult Ed with top grades and new experience under her belt.
She adds that one of the valuable things she learned during her time at Adult Ed was the importance of being empathic towards others who struggle. Although she graduated from Accounting and Business courses, her incredible experience nurtured an interest to one day pursue a position as an educational assistant. She says she'd like to help others just as much as Adult Ed helped her.
"I will definitely share my positive experience at Adult Ed with those who are seeking to upgrade their skills," says Bevilacqua. "I felt welcomed here."
To learn more about Adult Ed or to register, click here.