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How to Re-Enter the Workforce: Upskilling for a Good Job

If you’ve been out of work for any length of time it can be a challenge to know how to re-enter the workforce. Your previous jobs might not be available or in-demand anymore because of changes in the economy, automation and new technology. 

Or maybe you’re looking for something new. Finding your place in the workforce can be made easier with upskilling programs offered in eastern Ontario.

How to Re-Enter the Workforce: 5 Tips

If you’re underemployed or a career-shifting worker and re-entering the workforce after growing your family or taking care of a loved one, or if you've been incarcerated, ill or otherwise unable to work, you can start rebuilding your skillset right away. Start by determining the training you need; it could be anything from formal education to job-specific skills.

Here are five ways you can upskill to gain more confidence when looking for jobs and help you transition back into the workforce:

1. GED 

In Ontario, a GED certificate shows employers you have high school-level knowledge and skills. You’ll need to pass five tests (with a score of at least 450 out of 800) in:

  • writing (language arts)
  • reading (language arts)
  • mathematics
  • social studies
  • science

You can only take the test through the TVO Independent Learning Centre (ILC). However, in eastern Ontario, Loyalist College offers a Career and College Prep program to help you earn your GED.

2. Soft Skills Training 

Soft skills are traits that complement your other talents and help you advance in your career. They’re the types of skills that help you work within a team environment wherever and whatever your job is. Some soft skills include leadership, teamwork, communications, problem-solving, work ethics, and flexibility and adaptability in the workplace. The Elevate Plus programs offered through the Loyalist Training and Knowledge Centre help you gain these skills. The programs also help you identify your personal attributes, your values and your interests so you can get the job you want that meets your needs. 

Elevate Plus - Military focusses on remote work skills in the Financial and Banking sectors so you can start work online in an emerging sector where jobs are plentiful. Plus you’ll be ready for in-person work because the training prepares you for working in a team environment. While initially aimed at helping military personnel and their families, the program has expanded to include anyone un- or underemployed ready to train online. 

Elevate Plus Manufacturing program integrates comprehensive job-specific skills with literacy and teaches essential skills in manufacturing and the food processing sector. The program offers you a certificate and network opportunities with manufacturing and food processing employers.

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3. Hands-On Trades Training

You might have obtained some trade skills through earlier work or during incarceration. These skills are highly sought after, and so it’s worth your consideration to complete an apprenticeship and earn a Red Seal Certification. Apprenticeships are employer-sponsored and include hands-on learning plus an in-school component to gain a wide range of knowledge about your chosen trade. 

Employers are encouraged to take on apprentices to create a continued well-trained trades sector.  

4. Skilled Trades & Personal Wellness Labs

The Skills Catalyst Fund (offered in Kingston and Cornwall) teaches you skills for a trade or personal wellness career. Candidates learn fundamental safety skills such as understanding and meeting industry safety standards, including how to work with personal protective equipment and power tools plus other types of equipment. 

You can choose from two labs: The Skilled Trades Lab includes training to work with metal and machining plus trade calculations, sketching and drawing tools and technologies; The Personal Wellness Lab highlights food services and relevant skills for people looking to work in lifestyle sectors that improve people’s quality of life, including healthy eating and exercise.

5. College and University Programs

Eastern Ontario offers a wide variety of programs at its many colleges and universities. You can re-enter the workforce with in-depth knowledge of a career of your choice that you can thrive in. Investing the time to earn a post-secondary diploma or degree can offer you stability throughout your career. There is financial assistance for both college and university training in Ontario. You can check out what eastern Ontario post-secondary schools have to offer you: take a virtual tour.

Why Upskilling Matters When You Re-Enter the Workforce

Confidence in your skills makes it easier to re-enter the workforce. Acquiring the skills and training you need to feel comfortable on the job can help you better navigate your career path. You’ll nail the interviews and impress your potential employers so you can have the career you want. In Ontario, the opportunities are endless. If you want to see more training programs available to you, download this Job Seekers Guide

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External links are provided as informational resources only and are not necessarily endorsed by Ontario East.













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