Editor’s note: The following is a firsthand account of the NBCC experience by Scott Cooper, a 2022 graduate of the Process Control Technician program at Saint John Campus.
Before enrolling at NBCC, I spent the last 20 years working internationally as an operator, project manager and area manager for a large oilfield service company. With the unexpected interruption to my career due to the economic decline in the oil and gas industry in 2020, I was presented with an opportunity to return to school as a mature learner. My family picked up and moved from Midland, Texas, to Quispamsis where we had recently lived before being expatriated to the U.S. for work in 2015.
To me, NBCC was the most obvious choice for post-secondary education as I was familiar with its programs that related to my hands on experience in the oil and gas industry, and I knew that local employers trusted the skills and work quality of NBCC graduates. My acceptance into the Process Control Technician program would provide me with the technical theory and diploma to compliment my work experience. This, I felt, would be an advantage when applying for future employment and make me more attractive to employers in the area.
NBCC’s approach of blended delivery due to COVID was extremely beneficial for my schedule which always seemed to be in flux due to the move back to NB, kids’ sports, and school schedules. Recorded online classes were one of the “levers” that allowed me flexibility to attend to familial needs and not miss any of the course delivery.
Having instructors with industry knowledge also played a role in my success. They were able to relate personal experiences to course material and their subject matter expertise helped provide a better understanding of the topics being taught in labs, classrooms and online.
Being a mature learner and returning to a “classroom setting” after 23 years working in industry was a new challenge for me – one that I was excited to overcome. I felt confident asking questions or for clarification on subject matters, I had a clear vision of what I needed to accomplish to be successful in my schoolwork, and I was excited to work alongside younger fellow students who had not yet had industry work experience.
Overall, this experience at NBCC has been an immensely positive experience, one that will present new opportunities in a local workforce and grow my network of professional contacts. I look forward to new and exciting opportunities.