Discovering the joy of learning in mid-career

By Nicole Laidler


Western Continuing Studies teaches relevant workplace skills, and reignites a passion for learning.


Jennifer Siple couldn’t wait to graduate from high school. “I was impatient, and perhaps a little too free-spirited,” she says. “Post-secondary education didn’t appeal to me at all.” Instead, Siple chose to enter the workforce where she has enjoyed a varied career in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. 

About five years ago, with her own children now grown, Siple became interested in pursuing further education. “I found the more I learned, the more I understood how little I know,” she says with a laugh. 

Siple’s thirst for knowledge led her to Western Continuing Studies, and she has never looked back. 

“I found the more I learned, the more I understood how little I know,”

Since 2022, she has earned Accelerated Certificates in Leading Through Conflict, Agile Project Management, and Managing Change. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of learning from three instructors during that time, each with different styles but all with deep subject-matter knowledge,” says Siple, who plans to complete an Accelerated Certificate in Innovative Thinking when the program is offered again this fall. 

Siple chose Western Continuing Studies because of its reputation for excellence and the strength of the courses on offer. “Western Continuing Studies is focused on developing skills that are in demand,” she says. “We are all experiencing increased change in our roles at work, and it’s so important to stay relevant.” 

As a Senior Human Resources Consultant with H2R Business Solutions Inc., Siple understands how important earning a certificate can be to career success. “In my work in HR and as an organizational development consultant, it says a lot about a candidate when they pursue something diligently and follow through to the end,” she says.   

Siple has been able to continue working full-time while pursuing her educational goals at Western Continuing Studies, and says she appreciates the flexibility offered by remote learning. 

To meet and learn from other students is so valuable.

“The combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning enables people from all different professional and personal backgrounds to learn together,” she adds. “To meet and learn from other students is so valuable. Everyone is there for the same reason - to learn - but it’s also a great way to network and build relationships.”  

After experiencing the benefits of continuing education as a student, Siple regularly recommends it to clients who may be looking to upskill their workforce or retain valuable employees.  “Whenever we study engagement and what really matters to people, the desire for professional development always ranks up there at the top,” she notes.  “It’s a very worthwhile investment.”



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