ABES Col­lege pre­pares stu­dents for ca­reers in ar­eas of need

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - ALEX FRAZER-HAR­RI­SON

A call to help oth­ers in need, while build­ing a ful­fill­ing new ca­reer — for many stu­dents at Cal­gary’s ABES Col­lege, this is a prime mo­ti­va­tor in choos­ing its Health Care Aide and Com­mu­nity Sup­port Worker pro­grams.

Emily, a re­cent ABES Col­lege grad­u­ate, moved to Cal­gary from Bri­tish Columbia a year and a half ago, seek­ing “a new chap­ter in my life,” she says.

Af­ter com­par­ing ca­reer col­lege op­tions in Cal­gary she found that ABES Col­lege pro­vided ex­actly what she was look­ing for. She was par­tic­u­larly taken by its post-grad­u­a­tion em­ploy­ment rate — more than 90 per cent across its pro­grams.

“It re­ally made me want to go there,” says Emily, adding the ad­mis­sions process was also a big draw.

“It was so easy. I was met with a real fam­ily feel­ing — I felt that, through­out be­ing in school, they’d al­ways be there for me.”

Emily says the staff at ABES Col­lege was “very close-knit.”

“I met with Ana, my ad­mis­sions ad­viser, a lot. She was al­ways there for me. And Jenny, the pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor, made a point of sit­ting down and check­ing up on us. And I just adored my teach­ers.”

But it’s in the field where ABES Col­lege pro­vides its stu­dents with the most valu­able work and net­work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, she says.

“ABES ar­ranged ev­ery­thing with my practicum,” says Emily. “I quit my day job at a call cen­tre and took a leap of faith.”

Soon af­ter grad­u­at­ing, Emily was hired at a hos­pi­tal and says ABES changed her life, pre­par­ing her to ex­cel at her job dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic, the big­gest med­i­cal cri­sis in decades.

“It’s been a wild ride,” she says. “I spent the first six months on the job learn­ing so much and, since then, there’s been a great deal of change. It’s ac­tu­ally in­spir­ing … peo­ple have each other’s backs.”

ABES Col­lege’s pro­grams are de­signed to train peo­ple and get them work­ing quickly — the Health Care Aide pro­gram runs eight months and Com­mu­nity Sup­port Worker train­ing takes only six. This is vi­tal given the in­creas­ing de­mand for both oc­cu­pa­tions. Health care aides work in places such as long-term care homes, while com­mu­nity sup­port work­ers help vul­ner­a­ble adults, chil­dren, youth and fam­i­lies.

“There is ex­pected to be a greater need for com­mu­nity sup­port work­ers as the toll of the pan­demic af­fects peo­ple’s men­tal health,” notes John Green­how, direc­tor of Ad­mis­sions at ABES Col­lege.

“There is de­mand for all of our grad­u­ates — a strong pull into the work­force.”

The COVID-19 cri­sis has made many peo­ple seek out new ca­reers and “peo­ple that feel the call to help oth­ers are start­ing to raise their hands and take these pro­grams,” says Green­how.

“A big sell­ing fea­ture for us is that we can get them trained quickly … to al­low peo­ple to make that change in their quality of life and re­al­ize their dreams in such a short pe­riod of time.

“We think of ed­u­ca­tion as an in­vest­ment in the fu­ture and we take that in­vest­ment very se­ri­ously.”

ABES Col­lege’s pro­grams cur­rently uti­lize a vir­tual class­room sys­tem and practicum op­por­tu­ni­ties will con­tinue dur­ing the pan­demic, he notes.

“Our pro­grams qual­ify for fund­ing with Stu­dent Aid Al­berta. Most of our stu­dents re­ceive full fund­ing, in­clud­ing grants to sup­port sin­gle par­ents and low­in­come learn­ers,” Green­how adds.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit abes.ca.

THIS STORY WAS CRE­ATED BY Con­tent WORKS, POST­MEDIA’S COM­MER­CIAL Con­tent DI­VI­SION, on BE­HALF of ABES COL­LEGE.

SUP­PLIED

ABES Col­lege sees more than 90 per cent of grad­u­ates find jobs af­ter com­plet­ing their pro­grams.

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