Category Archives: Education

Children’s Education Funds Reviews: 5 Flexible Opportunities for Working Moms

Across Canada, many parents are struggling to manage their work life and their families. The difficulties of juggling both responsibilities, for instance, lack of childcare or inflexible managers, continue to push women out of the workforce.

According to a CBC News Report, 15% of women who left their jobs in 2018 and are now out of the labour force did so for personal or family reasons.

While some working moms have decided to trade in their careers for more time with their children, others have found flexible schedules that allow them to be present for both roles. Alongside finding adequate childcare, a flexible work environment is a critical piece of the puzzle.

Since 1991, Children’s Education Funds Inc. (CEFI) has been assisting Canadian families with their children’s higher-education savings goals as a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) provider.

Children’s Education Funds Inc. also knows how important it is for working mothers to have flexibility built into their careers so that they can balance their responsibilities at home. A CEFI career means being in the business of helping families understand RESPs and which plans work best for their financial situation.  It also means having the freedom to set your own schedule.

Since many moms are returning to the workforce after giving birth, let’s review some of the most flexible work circumstances for the busy parent.

Working remotely

An ideal situation for both moms and dads, working remotely allows parents to be available to their children and make money from a home office at the same time.  Many companies are allowing employees this flexible option, which helps the modern parent conquer the work/life balance on their own schedule.

Co-working spaces that offer childcare

As more parents are able to work remotely, co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular.  This is a space that a group of people rent together with the added bonus of built-in childcare.  Instead of trying to work at home with your young kids or taking them to daycare, moms can leave their child with trusted caregivers as they get the job done.

Flexible positions

It’s not shocking that a career as a busy lawyer or doctor will unlikely offer flexibility in your day-to-day routine.  There are a range of careers, however, that will.

For example, flexibility is built in to a career running your own business.  Case in point, a CEFI Dealing Representative specifically helps Canadian families set up Registered Education Savings Plans or RESPs under the umbrella of CEFI.  What that means is – setting your own goals, working hours that meet your lifestyle demands and developing your own clients and book of business with access to the full support and resources from the CEFI head office.

The job can also be rewarding to assist young students and their families realize their goal of a higher education, while at the same time having the flexibility to tend to your own family.

Flex schedules

Moms who are granted flex schedules at work can stagger their clock-in time, which can help make mornings less hectic.  Starting work later in the morning is especially helpful for parents who need to make sure their children get on the school bus. A flex schedules can also mean an employee trades in their lunch break in lieu of an earlier release time.

4 day work weeks

Working moms are used to getting lots done in a small amount of time. Although the 5 o’clock quitting time isn’t likely to change, the length of a workweek can.  When companies implement the 4 day work week, moms can reap major benefits from having an extra day off.  Instead of spending the weekend catching up on chores and grocery shopping, they can focus more on family activities.

Offering flexibility on the job helps more than just moms.  It is also enticing the younger population of workers who have a strong preference for flexible working arrangements.  Tara Dragon, an Edmonton-based human resources expert, notes: “Flexibility is something of value to people regardless of where they are in their career.

Finding balance as a parent can be a challenge, but with a flexible work arrangement, moms can still put their talents to good use and take care of their families at the same time.

4 Books to Read in Your 20’s That Will Change Your Life

The years you spend in your 20’s are the years meant for making mistakes, learning about love and heartbreak, and growing as an individual. It is the perfect time to navigate through challenges, explore new cities and relationships, and start focusing on career goals. It is also the ideal time to read some amazing books.

You might think that your college courses, new job opportunities, or active social life are too time consuming to ever allow you to read for fun. But no matter what, you should always find at least 20 minutes a day to read something of value. Once you get into this healthy habit, be sure to pick up these 4 books to read during your 20’s – they just might change your life!

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Woolf has come out with quite a few must-reads, but there is nothing like reading A Room of One’s Own if you are 20-something female. Woolf’s writing is typically aimed at empowering young women and thoroughly examining sexism in the modern world.

This book is no exception; it provides eye-opening commentary on influential female figures throughout history. All of you women in your 20’s should head to your nearest bookstore or visit the Kindle store and start reading A Room of One’s Own.

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Not everyone who falls between the ages of 20 to 29 will find Presence a fun read, but you’ll at least find it extremely helpful for the job-hunting process. According to Mike Simpson, an expert on interviewing, making a good first impression during any job interview is key. Cuddy absolutely agrees and she goes over how to do this in detail within the pages of Presence.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Perhaps you are familiar with Cheryl Strayed’s work, or at least you have some idea of it if you watched the feature film Wild. Strayed is a frontrunner when it comes to providing people in their 20s with long lasting life lessons. She has experienced some serious s*** in her life – as you know if you read or watched Wild – so she has some great insight for young people everywhere.

Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of pieces from Cheryl’s time as an advice columnist working for The Rumpus. Even if you are familiar with these pieces, invest in the book since there are some never-before-published pieces within its pages. Don’t be surprised if some of the stories make you want to cry, laugh, or just flat out conquer the world.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is considered to be one of the funniest women of our time, and you’ll be able to see that as you flip through her autobiography Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). She covers a huge range of topics and touches on her experiences as a child of Indian immigrants, her time working on the set of The Office, and her take on life and love.

How to Find the Right Graduate Program in 4.5 Simple Steps

These Tips, Tricks, and Tools Make Finding a Graduate School Easier Than Ever

You survived undergrad. Maybe you’ve even survived a few (or more than a few!) years out in “the real world”. First of all, congratulations! Making it this far is no small feat. But now that you have decided to pursue a graduate degree, there is a whole new set of challenges to deal with– first and foremost, deciding on the right graduate program for you.

If choosing the right graduate program seems overwhelming, don’t worry– we’re in it with you. That’s why we put together this simple guide to finding the right graduate program for you. Here’s the short version:

  • Search the internet
  • Make a spreadsheet
  • Send some emails
  • Take a road trip (or plane trip, or boat trip)
  • Get the inside scoop

The first step in finding the perfect graduate program is searching the web for schools you might want to research further.

1. See what the internet has to say about programs in your chosen field.

There’s a reason that the verb google was added to the dictionary— it’s a huge part of how we find out information these days. “Googling it” is a great way to start any information-gathering process, and researching graduate programs is no different.

You can also try using these resources to find some graduate programs that might be a good fit for your goals. At this point, you want to cast a wide net– try to find 15 to 20 potential programs using:

  • GradSchoolMatch. Narrowing your search to programs that truly fit your interests has never been so easy. GradSchoolMatch also gives you reminders about application deadlines and other important dates.
  • Peterson’s. This is your one-stop shop for all things grad school. Whether you need to find a school, learn about funding your education, or prep for important entrance exams, Peterson’s has you covered.
  • GradSchools.com. AKA, the #1 graduate school directory in the nation. If there’s any information you’ve been unable to find thus far in your search, you can find it on GradSchools.com.

Organizational tools like Google Sheets and Gmass are essential to finding the right graduate school for you.

2. Get organized with Google Sheets.

How are you going to keep track of the important information you find during the research phase? With a handy dandy Google Sheet, of course. Part of Google’s cloud-based suite of professional tools, Google Sheets are a free way to keep all of your grad schools in a row (or column– whatever floats your boat).

Make sure you have an email address for each institution on your list– this will be important in step 3.

3. Harness the power of mail merge and put admissions office to the test.

Most guides to selecting a graduate program will tell you to come up with a question you can’t easily find online– such as “What type of career services do you make available to graduate students?”– and email admissions offices to see how they respond.

In addition to getting the answer to your original question, the way the admissions office responds will tell you a lot about how each institution treats its students.

Mail merge is a powerful tool that allows you to use information from a spreadsheet (like the university name, email, and other information you collected in step 2) to streamline the process of sending emails to lots of people at once.

All you have to do is create a message template and link it to your Google Sheet. That might sound complicated, but with the mail merge tool Gmass, it’s as simple as drafting a message in Gmail.

Visiting prospective schools gives you a much better sense of what it will actually be like to attend.

4. Take a good ol’ fashioned college road trip.

Based on the results of step 3, narrow down your list to the 5 graduate programs you are most seriously considering. After that, make some time in your schedule to stop by and visit those schools. Nothing gives you a better sense of what a school’s like than actually being on its campus.

4.5 Get the inside scoop from faculty and students.

While you’re on campus, take advantage of your greatest resources– the school’s students and faculty. Unlike tour guides, who will give you a practiced spiel about the school, you can rely on students you find milling around the library or quad to tell you what it’s really like to attend. Be sure to have questions ready!

Finding the right graduate school can be tricky, but you’ll be glad you did your research and found the perfect program in the end.

Finding the right graduate program can seem daunting, but when you follow these steps, the whole process gets a lot easier. Be sure to take advantage of tools like Google Sheets and Gmass to keep your search organized. Good luck!

How to Be a Better Support System to Your Staff

Every good business owner knows that a pivotal part of there success is attributed to their staff. Without the help of skilled employees to carry out various functions like sales, marketing, and customer service, the company would essentially cease to exist. In light of this reality, employers should always look for ways to show their support and gratitude. Those who go beyond the paycheck and benefits, connect with their staff on a more meaningful level which helps to improve the workplace environment and productivity.

Your Employees Have Lives

Outside of handling their responsibilities at work, your employees have lives. They have children, relationships, financial obligations, and their own personal ups and downs. As an employer, acknowledging that fact and providing them with valuable resources and support can have a lasting impact on the success of your business. How can you be more supportive of your staff? Here are a few suggestions below:

  • Professional Development – Most people have professional aspirations when they start working for a company. They have desires to move up the ladder and advance their careers. You can show support for your employee’s careers by having professional development opportunities. Offering free training, assistance or reimbursement on educational courses, and encouraging them to participate in networking events can help advance their careers.
  • Mental Health Assistance – As a human being you know that life isn’t always easy. There are a lot of pressures that can push a person to their limits causing them to resort to measures they (or you) never thought imaginable. If you find that one of your employees is struggling with mental health or substance abuse, you can show your support by recommending drug detox centers, therapists, and other solutions to treating their problems.
  • Make Health a Priority- It is only when your employees are in their best health that they can provide the best assistance to your business. You can encourage and support your staff by establishing health incentives in your company. Offering discounts to nearby gyms, weight loss program enrollment, free screening services, and other initiatives, ensure that they can remain in their best health.
  • Family Inclusion – Family is an important element for most people, and working can often take them away from that. You can let your team know that you’re there for them by creating a family culture within the business. Host events where staff can invite their families, if you have the budget for it, perhaps open a childcare center or offer affordable services to nearby daycare centers. You can also do things like offer scholarships to the children of employees to help lower educational costs.
  • Communicate and Be Present – Perhaps one of the best ways to show your employees more support and appreciation is through your presence and communication. Being there when they need to talk, listening to their concerns, and being involved in both their personal and professional lives can help to cultivate a deeper understanding and relationship.

You hand-picked a team that you believed would help you take your business to new heights. These individuals are more than just a gateway to success, however, they are human beings with lives that go up and down just as yours does. As their lifestyles can have an impact on your business it is essential to connect with them. To connect with them on a deeper level, it would be wise to find ways to show your support. Offering the suggestions above and others, let’s your staff know that you see them for not only their performance in the office but for the amazing human beings that they are.

Master’s Degrees to Consider if You’re Looking for Long-Term Job Opportunities

If you’ve completed an undergraduate degree at college and are now thinking about taking on post-graduate studies, or if you have been in the workforce for a while and want to go back to school to get further educated, it can be rather tough trying to work out which program to enroll in.

Today, with the costs of study rising constantly, and with many industries in decline, you need to make your decision carefully so you spend not only your money but also your time and energy wisely. As such, it’s important to be on the lookout for degree options that will help you increase your job prospects as soon as you’ve graduated, and well into the future. Read on for a sample of good master’s degrees to consider.

Engineering

A master’s degree in a field of engineering is a beneficial qualification to have, with engineers being in-demand around the world for all types of jobs. There are a variety of areas of engineering you can specialize in, but whether you choose to check out the best biomedical engineering schools or are keen on getting a post-graduate degree in civil, mechanical, chemical, electrical or other type of engineering, you should be set for years.

From a master’s degree, you’ll gain additional technical knowledge and skills which will set you up well for roles and help you enhance your safety record. The extra studies you complete will assist you to become a more reasoned, cautious and experienced engineer, as well as give you the chance to work on more intellectually challenging, and interesting, engineering projects.

Economics

While it has been a popular area of FAME (finance, accountancy, management and economics) studies for many years now, and known for providing good job prospects and pay, right now economics is growing further, for a variety of reasons.

For instance, students who study a master’s in economics will learn how to effectively work with and analyze big data sets, something that is particularly of-use in this tech-driven world. More and more companies across the globe are looking for people who can help them handle their digital information and make decisions based upon it. As such, being able to strategically utilize large amounts of data will certainly stand you in good stead for future roles.

Another reason why economics is big right now is because of the explosion in the global population. This, combined with the banking and other financial turmoil of the last decade, and the huge debt problems of a number of developed countries, has led many people to question the way economics has been approached for decades. As a result, if you complete a master’s in economics, you’ll be able to enter the arena at a time when fresher, more innovative ideas are welcome.

Computer Science

Of course, as you’d imagine, as our world relies more and more on computing breakthroughs and abilities, and technology continues to disrupt industries and change the way we live our lives, having a post-graduate qualification in computer science is a real boon.

The need for computer-savvy job candidates continues to grow and isn’t likely to abate any time soon. After all, businesses in every sector now rely upon technology at least to some degree. If you have a thorough understand of all the elements of computer science, then you’ll be able to work in tech firms and also for any other sort of business that needs your skills.

Plus, with cybercrime such an issue, and something that isn’t likely to go away, people who have trained in computer science can get jobs as security specialists, for both government organizations and private firms.

MBA

A Master’s in Business Administration continues to draw in huge numbers of students because it’s easier than ever for people to become entrepreneurs. Plus, there is more focus on the world of business management and the rise of entrepreneurial superstars, so increasing numbers of people wish to further their skills in business and hopefully follow in the footsteps of well-known leaders.

An MBA is a highly flexible degree, which allows students to learn about and acquire skills in various subjects such as leadership, finance, accounting, sales, marketing, technology, international markets and the like. Being qualified in this area has helped many students to go on not just to earn a lot more during their careers but also to have more career stability. In addition, completing an MBA opens up opportunities to work in varied and interesting fields and diverse geographical locations.

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