University of Calgary

Climbing the ladder

UToday HomeNovember 13, 2012

Austin Giles turned his certificate work into a degree through Continuing Education.Austin Giles turned his certificate work into a degree through Continuing Education.For years, Continuing Education has offered its students the ability to ladder some 300-hour certificates into University of Calgary degrees. Austin Giles learned about the program after enrolling in his first Continuing Education course in the fall of 2006.

Austin saw the minor in workplace learning as an ideal opportunity. After consulting with program advisors in Continuing Education and the Faculty of Arts, he decided to pursue the Certificate in Professional Management through Continuing Education, and a bachelor’s degree in communication and culture with a minor in workplace learning through the Faculty of Arts.

In June 2012, Austin graduated with a Certificate in Professional Management from. He also completed his degree requirements in June and will convocate today.

While pursuing his program requirements, Austin continued to work part-time for the employer he’d had since high school. At the same time, he worked at establishing his own business providing music and DJs for weddings and corporate events — a business that continues to grow.

“It was always challenging finding enough time for everything,” Austin says of the past few years. “I was highly scheduled and wrote everything down to keep on top of it all.”

“Online learning helped as well,” he adds, especially in the winter months, when he preferred to spend some time in Mexico. “I enjoyed the classroom, and always chose my courses based on my interest and business needs, but if I hadn’t done some online courses, it would have taken me longer to complete the program.”

To apply Continuing Education hours to a minor in workplace learning in a University of Calgary faculty, students must meet the entrance requirements. Austin had the required high school marks, making it possible to bring all of his learning together and to graduate with both credentials.

“My Continuing Education certificate has already impacted my career,” says Austin. “My learning gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to start my business. I probably would have started it anyway, but I don’t think I would have been as successful. I could apply my learning as I went … and chose courses as I needed them. The Internet marketing course has really proved beneficial to my business.”