A couple of weeks ago we published an article on the Estevan transition committee created to help the Energy City survive the coal phase-out in the future. Being a sensitive topic the story created a big discussion.
What caught my attention was that quite a few people participating were boiling over the plan to develop educational retraining programs. “We are too old,” “It’s hard,” “I don’t want to,” “I like what I’m doing” and so on. I heard comments of this type many times.
I don’t get it. I mean I get it in general, but I don’t understand what people hope for. I’m sorry to say, but I’m sure no matter how much we resist the coal transition, in one way or another changes will come. Climate-change action is one of the global contemporary trends that will break our customary system. Maybe not right now, maybe in 10-15 years, but it will happen and it will be challenging for communities like ours.
And I’m afraid that moving out of Estevan won’t solve the problem either if the entire country and eventually the world will move on with new systems and energy sources.
So why would anybody take an opportunity to get retrained and to develop as a curse or a joke coming from the government?
I’m probably just a nerd who loves studying, but I also see advantages of education in current situation. So why not start getting ready now when they are trying to offer the community options to transition and learn something new. Remember that old saying: when God closes a door, He opens a window? Why not check it out? It might be uncomfortable, but it’s better than nothing.
Through my entire life so far I constantly had to learn a lot of new things that didn’t really appeal to me on the first sight. Coming from a big city I had to find my way to survive around the farm, which wasn’t a piece of cake with me being quite clumsy. Besides, I’m a person who is more into humanities, so to figure out how to put a combine header together and other technical tasks were a real challenge. Yet, I got through it.
At some point in my life, I had to learn how to be a real estate agent, just because I needed extra money and journalism was never a great source of cash. I learned the history of my city along with tourism on the side of my degree just to have another freelance option.
Now I’m teaching my 57-year old auntie to speak English, so she could get around on her own in the English-speaking countries. And after just two months she has tremendous progress. I’ll tell you more, I’m 100 per cent sure that, if needed, now she could easily book a table and get all needed details out on what she wants to eat even here in Canada, where any order in a restaurant is accompanied with a good dozen questions.
And neither I, nor her are that smart. We just believe that any kind of education is the best investment of time and resources possible.
Not only is it never too late to learn, but also it is always profitable: re-training or additional education increases incomes on average. Last year the World Bank summarized the results of the research on the correlation between education and personal income and came to a conclusion that the one year of educational investments would pay you about nine per cent in return.
It is more profitable to invest in education than into stocks, which on average pay about five per cent and are often unsteady. And no matter how the economy is doing the education gives you more chances to meet competition and have a higher income.
The better your skills are, the more knowledge you have, the more chances you get to launch a job or succeed in your own business. And that works in pretty much all countries in the world.
Adult education helps to transition into a new job. It is always scary to begin, but usually, a fresh start brings in success and satisfaction. You already have a lot of life experience, which you can utilize in a different profession, but when you start doing something new your vision and imagination are not blurred and you become more creative.
And on top of that, education is just great. New people, new ideas, new opportunities, new inspiration, and yes, new challenges. But that’s what we are going to have anyways.
So if the government offers us help to get through the coal phase-out, why not take an opportunity and enjoy learning something new?