At 29, Etienne Parent leads a seven-person sales team and earns more than $200,000. All this, thanks to a year of professional training for him… $250.
“You could say it was a good investment,” he laughs. News magazine It will also publish on Saturday a ranking of the 100 vocational training courses that lead to the highest paying jobs.
A teenager who dreamed of becoming a psychologist, he faced several failures before moving on to professional training. His transition to college was a disaster, he says.
“It didn’t really go well at CEGEP. I dropped out four times. In my head, I had to do it. I didn’t push myself to do anything other than CEGEP and go to university.
When he’s resigned to giving up, Etienne doesn’t really know where to turn. After being rejected in the army, the young man continued his research and found professional training in sales-consultation and representation at the Samuel-de Champlain Training Center in Beauport, where he decided to enroll.
“When we think of DEP (Diploma of Vocational Studies), we often think of physical trades like construction. But there are plenty of other DEPs that we don’t know about where there’s a lot of contact with people,” he says.
Convince your loved ones
But Étienne had to convince those around him that professional training was not well regarded. The challenge is great. “My parents reacted very badly,” he said. They refused to pay for my studies, they were really not happy.
A year later, after completing his training, he started working as a sales consultant in an electronics store. One thing led to another, various opportunities were presented to him that led to a position as a team manager at a Quebec information technology company, which he has been managing since 2021.
His salary is now much higher than what he expected a few years ago. “Before doing DEP, I said to myself: If I have a job for $25 an hour, that’s fine, that’s my life and I’m going to be happy. Now I look back and I can’t ask for more,” he said with a big laugh.
His parents, on their part, completely changed their ideas about vocational training. “Now they’re talking about DEPs with younger relatives in my extended family, they cite me as an example… It’s really changed their focus,” he said.
Etienne now believes that vocational training benefits from being better known and more valuable than anything else.
“Unlike CEGEP, in vocational training, we learn something every day that will serve us for the rest of our lives. When we do it, we know why we are doing it and it motivates. We don’t need this course,” says a mentor at Academos, which connects young people with professionals and workers who are passionate about their profession.
Although he rubs shoulders with colleagues who hold university degrees every day, Etienne feels that it is not necessary to walk through the doors of a university to have the impression that he has “succeeded” in life.
“I’m proud to have reached where I am, with what I have, and I’ve shown those around me that even if I don’t have much education, I can succeed. And if I can get here with this diploma, I can go further.
Fast growing salary
Etienne Parent’s success is no exception, according to his former teacher Carl Baribeau, who still teaches sales consulting at CFP Samuel-de Champlain.
“In commercial representation, we have a lot of ex-students making six-figure salaries,” he says.
However, according to data from the Ministry of Education, the sales-consulting program is not very profitable: a year after their studies, graduates earn an average of $37,000, but the pay check may be twice that. More for other graduates.
However, salary progression can be very rapid in this area, especially for those with specialized training, Baribeau said.
“I tell them: don’t do it for the money and you’ll do it,” he said.