by Ruby Arsenault
The West Prince Campus of Holland College is celebrating its 10th year of offering the Administrative Assistant program.
The program offers both in-person and online/distance training. Learning Manager Sherri Roberts is very proud of the program and is equally proud of the students who have graduated.
“The graduating students have gone on to find success in the current job market,” says Sherri.
In 2012, 14 students were enrolled in the program in West Prince. “The best part of instructing the first year was seeing all 14 students graduate. Eleven of those students are successfully working in the field.”
In celebration of the program’s 10th anniversary, Sherri and some graduates are hoping to have a reunion. “I think it’s important to celebrate such a milestone and reconnect with previous students,” says Sherri.
“The job market for Administrative Assistants in both government and private industry is growing,” says Sherri. “There will be 25 students graduating from the program in May 2022.”
About Sherri’s career path
Before joining Holland College as the Administrative Assistant Learning Manager, Sherri worked in the banking industry at CIBC for 20 years. “During my banking career, I held positions as a Customer Service Representative, Back Office Clerk, Senior Financial Advisor, and Branch Manager.
“As I began my career at Holland College, I completed the Certificate in Adult Education program and continued to take university courses, obtaining a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education in Leadership and Learning.”
The Administrative Assistant program is an eight-month program that provides hands-on learning and prepares students for an entry level position as an administrative professional in the private sector or in government.
The program focuses on office procedures, written and oral communications, and basic computer programs, as well as professionalism, interpersonal communications, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, and customer service.
Practical learning includes computerized accounting, working with and developing spreadsheets, document preparation, and organizing meetings and events. On the job training provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their competencies, gain confidence, build on professional skills acquired from formal instruction, and gain firsthand experience.
In 2016, Sherri started developing and designing courses for online delivery to meet the needs of individuals who were currently working in the administrative assistant role but were missing the Administrative Assistant credential. “Distance learning allows individuals who work full-time to complete the program while working.”
With a growing interest in the Administrative Assistant program, another Learning Manager, Crystal Paynter, was hired in August 2021. Crystal has 20 years of experience in the administrative assistant role working for the Public Schools Branch.
Andrea Cameron, Library Technican/Learning Manager, continues to teach in the program as well.
One student’s success story
Heather Bernard was one of the students who attended the Administrative Assistant program the first year it was offered at the West Prince Campus of Holland College.
“I always wanted to work in an office setting, and that is why I was very eager to apply for the program back in 2012,” says Heather. “It had been several years since I had graduated from an office studies program, and it was an excellent way for me to refresh and upgrade my skills.
“I was the Manager/Front Desk Clerk for the Tignish Vet Clinic, and when they closed their doors, I had to seek employment, and this was an excellent choice for me.
“I loved everything about the program. The instructor was welcoming and so was the classroom atmosphere, and I made some great friends with my fellow classmates,” says Heather.
“Sherri Roberts is an amazing instructor. She is very calm, thoughtful, resourceful, and knowledgeable.
“Thanks to enrolling in this program, I landed my dream job,” says Heather, who is employed as an Accounts Payable Clerk for the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure in Tignish.
“Upon my graduation, I submitted my resumé in June 2012. What began as 10 weeks of casual work turned into a permanent position.”
Advice to anyone considering enrolling into the program
“If you are thinking of taking this course…then do it,” says Heather. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you are fresh out of high school. This program is excellent, and it will give you a firm foundation of skills to gain employment. When I enrolled, I had been out of school for 27 years, and I am ever so glad I did.”
How to apply
The application form for the Administrative Assistant program can be found on the Holland College website. A video guides applicants through the application process.
The next intake for the face-to-face and distance cohorts is September 6, 2022.
For more information about the Administrative Assistant program, click here.