Prioritize studying without putting your career on hold with N.O.W. Plus

When you already have a busy career, finding the time to earn a degree can be a big challenge. The N.O.W. Plus Degree Pathway at York University can help.

Ray Parker, N.O.W. Plus Bachelor of Human Resources Management (BHRM)  student

Ray Parker, N.O.W. Plus Bachelor of Human Resources Management (BHRM) student

Ray Parker joined N.O.W. Plus in 2016 to pursue her Bachelor of Human Resources Management (BHRM) through the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies while working two jobs and squeezing in volunteer work.

Ray has had a long-time passion for HR – she knew coming out of high school that it was what she wanted to do, combining her interests of business and helping people.  She says she wanted to put those skills together in a field that fit with her personality and her very customer service-focused work ethic.

On the recommendation from a family friend, Ray looked into the N.O.W. Plus pathway for the Bachelor of Human Resources Management and jumped at the chance to study her passion. She was attracted to the BHRM because of how well-rounded it is, “in the sense that it required basic knowledge of many aspects of business, including accounting principles and labour economics” which she knows will help her to be a better HR professional in the future. The N.O.W. Plus Pathway offered ability study at night, online and weekends gave her the flexibility to continue working to support herself; and credits from her previous study were applied to her degree at York.

Another key factor in deciding to pursue HR on the N.O.W. Plus pathway was the thorough preparation provided during the application process by Continuing Studies Advisors, “I was very impressed with the help I received when I made an appointment with the School of Continuing Studies, which definitely influenced my decision”. Ray continues to receive support from the Continuing Studies Advisors during her studies.

Having gone through the process of applying and being accepted to the BHRM, Ray has some advice for others considering taking a degree through the N.O.W. Plus Pathway: “Ask questions. Use the resources available to you as a student or even if you’re just thinking about the program. Advisors will take the time to answer your questions and make the transition easier for you to handle. I’m finally starting to learn that it’s okay to ask questions, and using the tools available to me to make university life more manageable. I can vouch that the University is committed to helping you in any way it can”.

Ray has found this support invaluable as she balances the demands of her study schedule with those of her two jobs. She works full time in a collections agency in Toronto, utilizing her knowledge of the financial and banking sectors and employing her bilingual skills dealing with lawyers and other professionals on a daily basis in both English and French. She also works part-time for a cash logistics and supply chain management company maintaining their records.

In addition to her dedication to her studies and her work, Ray says she’s always looking for opportunities to volunteer. Her most recent adventure was to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics, where she rented an apartment for a whole month during the summer. “It was my first experience travelling by myself, and although people were worried about how I’d fare, I couldn’t have felt safer. I met locals and saw some of the events (even some medals for Canada), and of course enjoyed the wonderful beaches.”

The decision to apply for her Rio adventure came from the fun she had volunteering for the 2015 PanAm Games in Toronto, where she even learned a bit of Portuguese in unbeknownst preparation for Rio. She says the highlight was the amazing experience of being immersed in so many cultures and languages all at once, which galvanised her interest in volunteering for Rio which in turn has motivated her to volunteer at the Olympics regularly from now on – something she highly recommends to everyone.

Another unexpected outcome of her volunteer work is the influence that it has had on her career. Ideally she’d like to couple her love for the Olympics and HR to one day work for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). With her English, French and Spanish languages skills and her Bachelor of Human Resources Management behind her, Ray will be well placed to contribute meaningfully to the global community the Olympics represents and the community outreach and enrichment activities they undertake.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the BHRM or other Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies degree programs available on N.O.W. Plus, have a look at our N.O.W. Plus page or email us at