Careers

Second Career Program - Feedback .

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 13th, 2017 9:22 pm
Newbie
Jun 25, 2017
1 posts
Hi EmpCouns,

Wondering if you can help me. My SC application was sent in and I had 16 points on the suitability assessment template. I heard back from the Ministry that my application was denied because apparently my Service Provider should have scored me 0 in occupational skills (originally it was a 2), meaning now I'm 2 points shy of the minimum suitability.

I do have a B.A. Degree but my work experience for the past 4 years was administrative assistance. So, their argument is that I have enough skills being an admin assistant to find another job being an admin assistant. I applied to many and they were included in my job search forms, and still I was not successful in getting a job. The other component of that section is that there are few job opportunities for sustainable employment. Their argument here was that there are many admin assistant job postings...

Now, I can come up with several reasons as to why I find this highly unreasonable but wanted your feedback. Depending on your response, I suppose my questions might be:

1. Do you think it's fair I am being rejected for my Service Provider scoring it incorrectly? Ultimately would it be the Ministry held responsible for communicating correct procedures to their employees? The entire time my Service Provider and I believed my score should be 16 and I'm not sure I would have even attempted the application had we not been certain (to her knowledge) it would be 16.
2. Based on my situation as well as my experiences jumping through the SC hoops and runarounds, is there good reason to appeal the decision?
3. Are you able to explain how an appeal process typically works? I asked over the phone when I was initially declined, but the consultant refused to answer my questions and was, to be honest, quite rude in dismissing me. All I got was that I had to wait for a rejection letter in the mail and that letter explains the process (mentioning also that the letter could take a month to be delivered to me).
4. I guess similar to the appeal questions, I understand that there are sometimes exceptional circumstances for those who score 15 or less and are still able to be approved. I read a previous thread of yours which did mention how because someone with a BA degree scored higher in that section, but because BAs are generalized and not vocational it was not held against them. Do you remember these details and would you think I'd fall under that category too? What might be some other examples of exceptional circumstances?

Sorry for the lengthy questions! I appreciate any input you're able to provide.

Thank you
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
550 posts
193 upvotes
MG742047 wrote:
Jun 26th, 2017 6:27 pm
Hi EmpCouns,

Wondering if you can help me. My SC application was sent in and I had 16 points on the suitability assessment template. I heard back from the Ministry that my application was denied because apparently my Service Provider should have scored me 0 in occupational skills (originally it was a 2), meaning now I'm 2 points shy of the minimum suitability.

I do have a B.A. Degree but my work experience for the past 4 years was administrative assistance. So, their argument is that I have enough skills being an admin assistant to find another job being an admin assistant. I applied to many and they were included in my job search forms, and still I was not successful in getting a job. The other component of that section is that there are few job opportunities for sustainable employment. Their argument here was that there are many admin assistant job postings...
This sounds very strange to me. If the majority of your work experience is in office administration, then you absolutely should be scored 2 for occupational skills - depending on the type of work, it's either NOC B or NOC C. Having a bachelor's degree makes no difference to that score. However, you did say that you were an admin assistant for the last four years - you don't say whether in fact that's the majority of your experience. It's possible that your score could be 0 if you have MORE years in NOC A roles.

As for job-searching, there may well be many postings, but there are also many people chasing those postings. If you have provided evidence to your counsellor of an effective job-search which has been unsuccessful, and your counsellor has described this well in the application, in my experience this is normally enough.
Now, I can come up with several reasons as to why I find this highly unreasonable but wanted your feedback. Depending on your response, I suppose my questions might be:

1. Do you think it's fair I am being rejected for my Service Provider scoring it incorrectly? Ultimately would it be the Ministry held responsible for communicating correct procedures to their employees? The entire time my Service Provider and I believed my score should be 16 and I'm not sure I would have even attempted the application had we not been certain (to her knowledge) it would be 16.
First of all, service providers are NOT Ministry employees. We work for non-profits or community colleges or (occasionally) for-profit agencies that receive some Employment Ontario funding. We're provided with the Second Career guidelines and any further clarificatory documents that come out from EO, and (in my area at least) there are local meetings where updates on guidance are passed on to us. The Ministry couldn't possibly be held responsible for a service provider getting it wrong. Yes, we're supposed to know the rules, but there are times when a service provider's interpretation may not be completely accurate - or a service provider is taking a long shot in the hope that the Ministry will approve - and in those cases an application can be rejected. It's rare, but it does happen.
2. Based on my situation as well as my experiences jumping through the SC hoops and runarounds, is there good reason to appeal the decision?
I'd have to have more information about your work experience as a whole. If the majority of your work experience is in the admin field, then the decision makes no sense to me. However, if you have spent more of your working life in NOC A roles, then 0 points is correct and your score would be 14. This is how that suitability criterion should be scored, according to the guidance we have been provided with by MAESD. If your score in that category is properly 0, in that case your only chance would be to have your service provider submit the application with an exception request - and those can be tricky. More below.
3. Are you able to explain how an appeal process typically works? I asked over the phone when I was initially declined, but the consultant refused to answer my questions and was, to be honest, quite rude in dismissing me. All I got was that I had to wait for a rejection letter in the mail and that letter explains the process (mentioning also that the letter could take a month to be delivered to me).
I've had one client appeal a denial (this was a denial of an exception request). The applicant - you - would write a letter explaining why you are appealing, and you can include supporting evidence. In my client's case, I also included a letter in support of her application. She also submitted extensive job-search records and a statement from an employer in her field about the poor state of the labour market in her specific occupation. The appeal was denied - quite patronisingly - with the observation that she and her service provider agency had not done enough to find her employment (despite all the evidence she had included to show the opposite).

Do I think every appeal would be brushed aside so casually? No. In this case, we were appealing an exception denial, which is a discretionary decision anyway. If you believe that your suitability score should be 16 and can present evidence supporting this, then that's an absolutely valid ground on which to appeal.
4. I guess similar to the appeal questions, I understand that there are sometimes exceptional circumstances for those who score 15 or less and are still able to be approved. I read a previous thread of yours which did mention how because someone with a BA degree scored higher in that section, but because BAs are generalized and not vocational it was not held against them. Do you remember these details and would you think I'd fall under that category too? What might be some other examples of exceptional circumstances?
The impact of post-secondary education (any post-secondary, from a college certificate all the way to a PhD) is that your suitability score for educational attainment is 1. Compare that to someone who only completed high school: their score on that category is 3. In most cases, existing post-secondary education does make it easier for someone to find work. In some cases, it does not: for example, is the education vocational in nature? (what can you do with a BA in social anthropology or linguistics without additional education? What about a community college diploma in photography?). Then there is education which is out of date - eg an IT qualification from 10 years ago where the person hasn't worked in the field. Or education from outside Canada where, even if it's evaluated as equivalent to Canadian, doesn't help the person find work because they're not able to obtain the required professional licence (eg an internationally-trained doctor or architect). In all those cases, I would argue that the education has little labour market value. In some cases, it can even count against the job-seeker because they may be seen as over-qualified where they're applying for positions that don't need their education.

I don't think I ever generalised about BA degrees by saying they're not vocational. Some are, clearly, but all Second Career applications are about the individual far more than the educational qualification. What has this person done since graduating, and what are her/his specific barriers?

Other rationales I've used for exception requests: if someone can no longer work in their previous occupation, for example due to health issues, there's clearly a strong case for the need for training even if they don't have 16 points. Or the person's occupation is subject to repeated seasonal layoffs and later rehires, and so they always get recalled before they make it to 16 points - there, you present a rationale as to why entering training makes more sense than returning to work (eg repeated recourse to EI). I'm sure there are other possible rationales that would present themselves in individual cases. Essentially, what an exception request is about is making the case that this person really needs retraining for a reason or reasons the suitability criteria aren't fully identifying.


One further observation: none of my clients have done this but I know it's not unheard of for people who aren't happy with the decision of a Ministry (or local service provider) to go to their MPP. That doesn't guarantee the result you want, of course, but if you appeal and the decision is not in your favour and you still believe that you should have been credited with 16 points it could be worth trying.

Good luck!
Newbie
Apr 20, 2017
13 posts
5 upvotes
I just thought to update you guys with my journey. Back in 2011 I was laid off and until I landed upon this forum I wasn't even aware of second careers. I learnt a lot about the program through this thread and I was able to successfully enroll into college through Second career Program. Fast forward today, I am working at one of the biggest Consulting firms of Canada and today I just received Certified Engineering Technologist certification. I would like to sincerely thank EmpCouns and others who helped me at every step of the way because without their support I wouldn't be where I am today. Let me tell you guys, if I can do it anyone can. Keep your chin up and hussle your way through. There is no rocket science to this. Wish each and everyone here all the best :)!.
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
550 posts
193 upvotes
Congratulations, Faisal! I'm very glad that this thread gave you confidence to apply for Second Career, and very many congratulations on your current position and CET designation. It's great to hear of people being successful :D
FaisalS831999 wrote:
Jun 28th, 2017 12:20 pm
I just thought to update you guys with my journey. Back in 2011 I was laid off and until I landed upon this forum I wasn't even aware of second careers. I learnt a lot about the program through this thread and I was able to successfully enroll into college through Second career Program. Fast forward today, I am working at one of the biggest Consulting firms of Canada and today I just received Certified Engineering Technologist certification. I would like to sincerely thank EmpCouns and others who helped me at every step of the way because without their support I wouldn't be where I am today. Let me tell you guys, if I can do it anyone can. Keep your chin up and hussle your way through. There is no rocket science to this. Wish each and everyone here all the best :)!.
Newbie
Jul 11, 2017
2 posts
I'm hoping someone can ease my anxiety. I applied for second careers and received a phone call for financial confirmation. the case worker from the ministry was very nice. She told me that i would get a phone call on Monday to get the information for me to come in and sign my contract. It's now Wednesday and I haven't heard anything back yet. I'm very worried now as she told me that I would for sure get a phone call on Monday. What should I do. i'm on a time crunch and she even said that they wanted me to come in as soon as possible. What should I do?
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
550 posts
193 upvotes
Congratulations on being approved! It sounds as if someone either forgot or has been off sick or something like that. Call them back - or call your counsellor and ask her or him to call. It's not a big deal - we talk to people from the Ministry all the time about client cases.

ShadowKiss wrote:
Jul 12th, 2017 11:27 am
I'm hoping someone can ease my anxiety. I applied for second careers and received a phone call for financial confirmation. the case worker from the ministry was very nice. She told me that i would get a phone call on Monday to get the information for me to come in and sign my contract. It's now Wednesday and I haven't heard anything back yet. I'm very worried now as she told me that I would for sure get a phone call on Monday. What should I do. i'm on a time crunch and she even said that they wanted me to come in as soon as possible. What should I do?
Newbie
Jul 11, 2017
2 posts
Thank you for replying my counsellor told me to call the ministry. I left a message so hopefully I get a call back to ease my worries. I'm just waiting now.
Newbie
Oct 11, 2013
64 posts
4 upvotes
Markham, ON
My cousin is eligible for Second Career and is looking at getting into a healthcare-related field like Personal Support Worker or Registered Practical Nurse. The problem is that she has no education here in Canada. For that reason she was thinking of doing PSW (since there aren't as many requirements) and then maybe a bridging program to RPN. If she went this route would Second Career only fund the PSW education or would they do both?

The other option could be to take the pre-requisite courses through some kind of Academic Upgrading and apply directly to RPN. I looked at Seneca for this but they are saying they need ESL at level 7 while she is at around level 5 or 6 right now. I looked into Toronto District School Board's program but they are closed for the summer so I couldn't get much information. Are there any recommended places to get Academic Upgrading or are they pretty much the same? On top of her english not being very good, her math is at a very basic level right now, while her science is probably even less than that. Because of this I don't know how much she would struggle with Academic Upgrading.
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Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
550 posts
193 upvotes
Second Career will only fund ONE program. Also, if someone has completed a post-secondary education/training program in the last two years, they are not eligible for Second Career - so it wouldn't be possible, say, to use OSAP for the PSW program and then apply for Second Career for RPN.

Second Career will fund up to one year of academic upgrading - usually high school or equivalent or ESL. Now, usually the upgrading itself is free but SC will pay for a basic living allowance if required. By the sound of it - especially since RPN programs are extremely competitive and science subjects are required - your cousin may need more than a year of upgrading. But she would need to see an academic counsellor at the School Board, or take an assessment for Seneca's ACE program, if they have one.

But I might suggest beginning with talking to an employment counsellor to get some career exploration help - is she absolutely sure that healthcare is the right field for her? Or is there a different field she might be better suited to, which may not be as difficult to get into and require strengths in subjects where she is weak?
jk43234 wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 9:41 am
My cousin is eligible for Second Career and is looking at getting into a healthcare-related field like Personal Support Worker or Registered Practical Nurse. The problem is that she has no education here in Canada. For that reason she was thinking of doing PSW (since there aren't as many requirements) and then maybe a bridging program to RPN. If she went this route would Second Career only fund the PSW education or would they do both?

The other option could be to take the pre-requisite courses through some kind of Academic Upgrading and apply directly to RPN. I looked at Seneca for this but they are saying they need ESL at level 7 while she is at around level 5 or 6 right now. I looked into Toronto District School Board's program but they are closed for the summer so I couldn't get much information. Are there any recommended places to get Academic Upgrading or are they pretty much the same? On top of her english not being very good, her math is at a very basic level right now, while her science is probably even less than that. Because of this I don't know how much she would struggle with Academic Upgrading.
Newbie
Oct 11, 2013
64 posts
4 upvotes
Markham, ON
EmpCouns wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 10:50 pm
Second Career will only fund ONE program. Also, if someone has completed a post-secondary education/training program in the last two years, they are not eligible for Second Career - so it wouldn't be possible, say, to use OSAP for the PSW program and then apply for Second Career for RPN.

Second Career will fund up to one year of academic upgrading - usually high school or equivalent or ESL. Now, usually the upgrading itself is free but SC will pay for a basic living allowance if required. By the sound of it - especially since RPN programs are extremely competitive and science subjects are required - your cousin may need more than a year of upgrading. But she would need to see an academic counsellor at the School Board, or take an assessment for Seneca's ACE program, if they have one.

But I might suggest beginning with talking to an employment counsellor to get some career exploration help - is she absolutely sure that healthcare is the right field for her? Or is there a different field she might be better suited to, which may not be as difficult to get into and require strengths in subjects where she is weak?
Thank you for the information. She went to an employment counselor to get help deciding on a career path, but it wasn't much help. She is leaning towards PSW since the requirements are not as high but since she is eligible receive funding for a 2 year college program, she is looking at 2 year programs like RPN.

How competitive are RPN programs? I went on school websites but I don't see any grade ranges.
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Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
550 posts
193 upvotes
It's disappointing to hear that she didn't get much help with career decision-making. It's part of what employment counsellors do - that said, no-one will tell someone what the best career path is for them. Our role is to help clients figure out for themselves what they're likely to enjoy and have an aptitude for.

The best way to find out whether RPN programs local to you are in high demand is to ask an academic advisor at the relevant colleges. I can only comment about the college local to me (not in the GTA), where over 3000 applications are received annually for around 90 places.

By the way, one thing they don't tell you is that it can take a while to find a job once someone qualifies as an RPN, and in some parts of the province the entry-level positions may be casual and on-call.

jk43234 wrote:
Jul 16th, 2017 4:21 pm
Thank you for the information. She went to an employment counselor to get help deciding on a career path, but it wasn't much help. She is leaning towards PSW since the requirements are not as high but since she is eligible receive funding for a 2 year college program, she is looking at 2 year programs like RPN.

How competitive are RPN programs? I went on school websites but I don't see any grade ranges.
Newbie
Aug 16, 2013
4 posts
Mississauga
Hi EmpCouns

I'm wondering about childcare fees. I am paying someone privately 1400 per month while I am in school if accepted into this program.
My question is about tax returns. Do I have to claim the fees paid?
Or is a receipt for second career funding all I have to provide . The person watching my kids does not want to claim the income .
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
550 posts
193 upvotes
I can't give advice on taxation. This is something you should consult a tax specialist about.
fsaarinen21 wrote:
Jul 19th, 2017 12:21 pm
Hi EmpCouns

I'm wondering about childcare fees. I am paying someone privately 1400 per month while I am in school if accepted into this program.
My question is about tax returns. Do I have to claim the fees paid?
Or is a receipt for second career funding all I have to provide . The person watching my kids does not want to claim the income .
Newbie
Aug 1, 2017
1 posts
Hi EmpCouns,

I am hoping you can help me as I can't seem to find answers online. I have a few questions but here's some background info that could potentially influence your responses...

I filed for first time bankruptcy in April of this year and I would like to go back to school which starts later this month (private career college).
My ROE indicates 'dismissal.' My employer refuses to change it. I was fired for requesting to be paid (i.e. exercising my rights under the E.S.A.). E.I investigated and determined that I was still eligible for E.I. This will run out in ~8 weeks.
I did apply to OSAP online but indicated that I would also be applying to Second Career.
Second Career says although I have enough points, they can't proceed with the ROE code.
I sent a letter to my school asking them to forward it to OSAP to revise my application to exclude Second Career for now.
In the interim, I have also contacted my MPP but the office is unsure that they will be able to help with the ROE issue and Second Career.

1) Can I reapply for Second Career, if my MPP manages to get it approved in time? Will Second Career penalize me for applying to OSAP first.
2) Does the bankruptcy affect either OSAP or Second Career?
3) Will EI cut me off once I start school? So, will I automatically lose the remaining weeks if I don't do the Second Career route?
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
550 posts
193 upvotes
mdee2017 wrote:
Aug 2nd, 2017 7:04 pm
Hi EmpCouns,

I am hoping you can help me as I can't seem to find answers online. I have a few questions but here's some background info that could potentially influence your responses...

I filed for first time bankruptcy in April of this year and I would like to go back to school which starts later this month (private career college).
My ROE indicates 'dismissal.' My employer refuses to change it. I was fired for requesting to be paid (i.e. exercising my rights under the E.S.A.). E.I investigated and determined that I was still eligible for E.I. This will run out in ~8 weeks.
I did apply to OSAP online but indicated that I would also be applying to Second Career.
Second Career says although I have enough points, they can't proceed with the ROE code.
I sent a letter to my school asking them to forward it to OSAP to revise my application to exclude Second Career for now.
In the interim, I have also contacted my MPP but the office is unsure that they will be able to help with the ROE issue and Second Career.

1) Can I reapply for Second Career, if my MPP manages to get it approved in time? Will Second Career penalize me for applying to OSAP first.
2) Does the bankruptcy affect either OSAP or Second Career?
3) Will EI cut me off once I start school? So, will I automatically lose the remaining weeks if I don't do the Second Career route?
This is a difficult one, because I can't see a way in which you'd be eligible. You were clearly wrongfully dismissed, and EI recognises this, but to be eligible for Second Career you have to have been either laid off, left the job on medical grounds, or taken EI maternity/paternity leave and then did not return to the workforce at the end of the paid leave. (There is a review of the Second Career program in progress, and one hope I've heard expressed is that wrongful dismissal may become an eligible cause of leaving a job, but no-one knows how long the review will take and when any changes to the program might be introduced).

If your former employer changed your ROE to laid off, yes, you would be eligible - but it sounds as if that's not likely to happen.

I don't know whether bankruptcy affects OSAP - ask the school's financial aid officer. For Second Career, you would need to get a letter from your trustee stating that Second Career funds wouldn't be garnished, and that's all.

Regarding your EI, take a look at p.24 of the Second Career guidelines (under Feepayer): http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/publi ... elines.pdf Ask your counsellor whether this could apply to you.

I'm sorry that this isn't more encouraging. The better news is - as long as you're eligible - OSAP now has grants as well as loans, so you should not have to borrow 100% of your training costs.

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