by Ethan Paquet
Each fall, the PEI Literacy Alliance awards bursaries and scholarships to help remove financial barriers for adults working to improve their education and their lives.
In November 2022, the Alliance hosted their annual Celebration of Learning. Through this event, The Alliance partnered with Master Packaging, Holland College, Tops to Floors, Murphy’s Pharmacies, Peter Gzowski Foundation for Literacy, Canadian Tire, and Upstreet Craft Brewing to raise money for bursaries and scholarships, and to support their programs.
Matt Perry was the recipient of the 2022 Learner Achievement Award at the Alliance’s Celebration of Learning. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the PEI Literacy Alliance and the Essential Employability Skills Health Sector program,” he says.
Having dropped out of high school at the age of 15, Matt later regretted not completing his education. “As my children grew, it became a priority for me to finish school because I wanted to encourage them and show them how important education is, and that it is never too late to correct mistakes or regrets.”
In fall 2010, at the age of 29, he completed his GED and upgraded his academic credits at Holland College. Soon after, he was accepted into a full-time post-secondary program, but an illness forced him to return to the workforce and put his education goals on hold.
By 2019, he found himself without work and trying to decide on his next steps. After seeing his partner receive her GED and complete her diploma at Holland College, he decided it was time to return to his own goals.
“My partner’s determination and perseverance motivated me to decide it was time to prove to myself, to her, and to my children that it is never too late to return to school and obtain a post-secondary education.”
To ease his way back into school, he enrolled part-time in Open Academic Studies at Holland College.
When he saw an advertisement online for the Essential Employability Skills program, he knew he had to apply. “I always wanted a career in healthcare, but with no experience or education in the field, I wasn’t sure how to get started. I was pleased to be selected.”
He found the classroom component of the course very interesting and useful in moving forward in his career. That summer, he participated in a work placement at a long-term care facility.
“The facilitators for the program were some of the most positive and encouraging people I have ever met. They helped me to be successful in the program and were very supportive of me through some personal challenges at the time.
“Taking this program helped solidify my decision to continue my education and enroll in a Resident Care Worker program and to pursue a career in healthcare.”
Matt graduated from Marguerite Connolly Training & Consulting in spring 2022, where he earned awards for his high grades and commitment to attendance and studies.
Since graduating, Matt has worked as a Resident/Patient Care Worker with Health PEI. In September, he accepted a permanent position with the Mental Health and Addictions division.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about the PEI Literacy Alliance Adult Learner Bursaries, visit www.peiliteracy.ca/adult-learner-awards
To learn more about the Essential Employability Skills program, visit www.peiliteracy.ca/ees
A complete list of Bursaries, Awards and Scholarships on PEI can be found at www.employmentjourney.com/bursaries-awards-scholarships