News

  • March 13, 2013 8:00 AM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    Gladys Ortiz immigrated to Canada from Columbia in 2002. While living in Columbia, she received a Masters degree in Community Development and worked for her municipal government as a Social Dietician and Community Nutritionist for ten years. She also instructed part time at a local university.

    Gladys OrtizWhen she moved to Canada she had intermediate English skills. She started looking for work but found it very difficult because she had no Canadian work experience and potential employers often thought she was over-qualified. “It was nearly impossible, I started to leave my education off of my resume.” Frustrated that she was only able to find work in shipping and receiving, Gladys continued to look for jobs more related to her skills.

    Early in 2010, Gladys heard about a program for foreign-trained professionals at Douglas College called the Tri-Cities Intercultural Workplace Project. After contacting Douglas College for more information about the program, Gladys was sure she had found a resource that could help her overcome the barriers that had prevented her from finding satisfying work in her field.

    She began the course in February 2010 and, since it was government funded, there was no cost to her. In addition, she received $400 a month to cover the cost of books, gas, transit etc.

    Three aspects of the program were most helpful to Gladys:

    1. English for foreign-trained professional: In this course students improve their verbal and written English. They also update their resumes, learn interview skills, and discuss job application strategies. They learn about the services and institutions available to support them in the Tri-Cities area.
    2. Introduction to community: In this course students learn about Canadian culture. Gladys said this was especially valuable because it has given her confidence to approach and communicate with business professionals because she understands Canadian culture better. Some of the topics covered in this course were economics, diversity, justice, how to approach difficult social issues (first nations, homelessness etc.), and exploring opportunities in a new culture.
    3. 100-hour practicum in the local community: Students were placed in a job in their desired field and assigned a mentor. Gladys said this was a fabulous experience because it allowed her to start building a network with professionals working in her area of interest.

    Gladys completed the program in August 2010. Although she hasn’t found a job yet, her updated resume is getting her more interviews and her level of confidence in interviews has increased. The staff at Tri-Cities Intercultural Workplace Project continue to be available to support Gladys.

    Gladys said that she feels confident, hopeful, and excited about her future. Her job search experience since completing the Intercultural Workplace program is like “being in a completely different universe!”


  • January 19, 2013 2:00 PM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    I’m delighted to draw your attention to a recent blog posting by Dr. Alan Davis, President and Vice Chancellor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Keynote Speaker, Summit 2013: Surging to the Future: Research-informed policy, practice and innovation in the Recognition of Prior Learning.

    In his post, Dr. Davis eloquently outlines the increasing necessity for community-minded post secondary institutions, including KPU, to recognize and respect the skills and knowledge adult students have acquired through the workplace and community life and to incorporate this learning into a broader vision of post secondary education.

    Here is a brief excerpt:

    “…But if I called the blog “PLAR”, some would gloss over it, some would be put off by the jargon, and we too often pigeon-hole parts of our operation for administrative convenience so we don’t have to worry about everything all the time. It’s all about learning in the end.

    PLAR has a bad rap. Some see it as flaky, some as a threat to faculty work and academic control, some institutions do not do much of it, and KPU is behind many. So, here is my pitch, having seen again what people are doing across North America, and how powerful this can be.

    Learning starts the moment you are born (some say before that), and continues until the final revelation at the moment of death (there is a revelation, isn’t there?). Then there is the learning acquired in school and beyond, which, in many parts of the developed world, lasts anywhere from a few years to (in my case) 27 years before I got a full time job. This is­ our formal learning, which is always documented, and is easily transportable and recognized; although those with foreign credentials coming to Canada might disagree.

    Pretty well the rest of our learning throughout our lives is informal, almost always not documented and rarely recognized, but where would you be without it?

    You wouldn’t have a job, for one thing. Almost all hiring involves assessing who you are in terms of both your formal and informal learning. Think about it. We sort resumes into those who have the stated formal credential and those who don’t. For those who do, we started looking at experiences, knowledge, skills and attributes that are developed informally. i.e., we do a lot of subjective assessment of informal learning as we make very large dollar decisions.”

    Click here to read the full blog post

    Wendy Watson

    President, BCPLAN


  • February 02, 2012 10:30 AM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    BCPLAN Considers the Path Ahead

    BCPLAN board members and advisors have been working hard looking at ways to position the or­­ganization to make the greatest impact for adult learners in BC.

    Five priorities have been identified and are currently being explored by members for consideration in the strategic plan:

    1. To make PLAR practitioner training options available in BC.
    2. To demonstrate that PLAR meets economic needs, saves money and supports the labour market goals of any government.
    3. To make employment service centres hubs for PLAR activities in each region.
    4. To substantially increase representation of BC employers involved in BC PLAN partnerships.
    5. To secure sustained financial support from provincial and federal governments.

    We are seeking input from all interested parties. Please use the comments field below to share your thoughts and opinions.

  • October 27, 2011 2:00 PM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    BC Jobs Plan

    Premier Christy Clark laid out her plan for jobs in BC with her 2012 report “Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan.” In it, the government announces several items of interest to BCPLAN:

    First, $15 million will be provided annually from the Labour Market Agreement to create regional workforce tables consisting of employers, labour, industries, communities, local chambers of commerce, and post-secondary institutions.

    “Their input will inform how the Province delivers regionally based skills development programs, including $15 million to further support regional post-secondary institutions in addressing local labour needs.”

    Second, $6 million will be provided annually to industry sector partnerships.

    “[This will] help them identify their skill and workforce needs, with additional funding for upgrading skills so workers can benefit from these opportunities.”

    Third, a plan to host a trades training conference this year.

    “…bringing all partners together to identify ways to enhance the province’s trades training programs.”

    In addition, the government plans further actions in the coming months aimed at “improving access to skills and apprenticeship training,” as well as, “exploring the potential for a single body to oversee formal credential assessments for foreign-trained professionals.”

    We are excited about the government’s commitment to adult learners in the province and we are looking forward to exploring ways for BCPLAN to promote recognition or prior learning as a part of the solution.

    Click here to read the full jobs plan.


  • January 10, 2011 2:00 PM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    A broad range of British Columbia’s educators and administrators convened recently to re-discover PLAR with a new energy, a new focus, and a new urgency. “This is not your grandmother’s PLAR” became the battle cry of the British Columbia Prior Learning Action Network (BCPLAN) Summit gathering at which the BCPLAN was declared as a not-for-profit society. This paper describes and situates BCPLAN as an emergent PLAR entity and considers its potential success against a historical background and a range of current issues.

    Read the full paper published in the Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education (fall 2010).


  • January 10, 2011 11:00 AM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    With more than five years of managerial experience in the hospitality industry, Jillian Smith saw the Vancouver Career College Hospitality Management Degree Advanced Placement Cohort Program as an opportunity to open doors for her career. The program sees participants from diverse groups of differing experiences learn from industry colleagues by engaging with program partners.

    In addition to earning a credential, Jillian points out many other practical benefits. She built immensely valuable relationships with industry contacts throughout the duration of the program, and gained a much broader perspective in the field. “This program puts you in a stronger position within the industry.”

    All cohort students are required to do an independent study project in their second summer as part of “giving back” to their employer (many of whom cover up to half of the program costs). Jillian’s report surveyed corporate social responsibility and her conclusions/recommendations were given to her employer the Vancouver Convention Centre.

    Jillian Smith has been the International Sales Manager of the Vancouver Convention Centre since 2006.

  • January 10, 2011 10:00 AM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    A broad range of British Columbia’s educators and administrators convened recently to re-discover PLAR with a new energy, a new focus, and a new urgency. “This is not your grandmother’s PLAR” became the battle cry of the British Columbia Prior Learning Action Network (BCPLAN) Summit gathering at which the BCPLAN was declared as a not-for-profit society. This paper describes and situates BCPLAN as an emergent PLAR entity and considers its potential success against a historical background and a range of current issues.

    Read the full paper published in the Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education (fall 2010).


  • September 15, 2010 10:00 AM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    Athabasca University hosts a rich resource of PLAR resources including:

    • A virtual portfolio
    • PLAR document templates
    • How-to guides including a PLAR Handbook

    Click here to visit the site


  • July 13, 2010 2:30 PM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    The Essential Skills Product Suite is a suite of tools to be used for assessing specific essential skills required for success in each of 50 trades. The tools for 50 unique trades identify essential skills gaps, and link to training resources and activities to achieve the required skills. This initiative will initially serve a number of targeted stakeholder communities including recent immigrants/internationally-trained workers, Aboriginal people, women, and other adults who have been out of the workforce for some time. This is a Labour Market Agreement-funded initiative, sponsored by the government of Canada.

    Watch Jessi Zielke (ITA) present at BCPLAN SUMMIT 2010.


  • July 13, 2010 11:00 AM | Andrew Skapenko (Administrator)

    This initiative was designed to assist individuals working without certification as unit clerks in BC hospitals, providing them with the opportunity to gain certification through a portfolio development process documenting their skills and knowledge in the field. This initiative won a UFV Outstanding Initiative award in 2002. Currently, UFV Continuing Studies is now working in collaboration with hospital partners in the Okanagan to implement a similar recognition of learning program for hospital employees.

    Watch Cheryl Isaac (UFV) present at BCPLAN SUMMIT 2010.


BC Prior Learning Action Network
Email Address: info@bcplan.ca
Mailing Address: 300 - 722 Cormorant Street Victoria BC V8W 1P8

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