Sylvia graduates at 63 into a second career

 originally published September 2011


            On August 26, Sylvia graduated from Access Business College with a diploma in Hospitality and Events Planning. She started her program on November 15 knowing nothing about computers. On graduation day, her fellow students were thanking her for helping them with their computer classes.

            Sylvia’s success is a tribute to her determination and the patience of her teachers, James and Vishakha.

            Sylvia’s training was sponsored by the Ontario government’s Second Career program. This is a program where laid off workers are granted funding to retrain. At Access Business College, a career college, the classes are small so each student receives lots of individual attention.

            Sylvia comes from a learning family and they all turned out to support her on graduation day—her husband, her children and their spouses and her grandchildren.

            Almost every adult in her family has learned new things over the years. Harry, her husband, who works at Ontario Power Generation as a mechanic, went back to get a degree in Theology. Harry said that Sylvia supported his learning so he supported hers.

            Sylvia’s youngest son, Paul, went back to school at George Brown to do a Hospitality program. Paul runs his own catering business and Sylvia will use her new found skills in Hospitality and Events Planning to work with her son to help his business grow.

            Her daughter-in-law is just learning French having moved to Montreal with Sylvia’s son Shahan who works at Bombardier. He has learned to pilot a plane. And Sylvia’s daughter is doing a B.Sc at the University of Toronto.

            Sylvia certainly picked a marketable program as the Hospitality and Events Planning field is one of the largest employers in Toronto. Think of all the visitors and conventions Toronto hosts, and all the restaurants, hotels and meeting halls used every year. Sylvia’s son will have to treat his Mom well as she could find work in numerous other venues in Toronto.


Toronto, Canada