by Stacy Dunn
PEI Literacy Alliance recently recognized the latest cohort of their Essential Employability Skills Health Sector program with a special closing ceremony. This program, based in Charlottetown, helped 10 participants explore pathways toward a career in the health sector.
This pilot program coached participants in the Skills for Success including literacy, problem solving, communications, and more. Participants also gained certificates needed to work in a healthcare setting such as CPR, WHMIS, Transfer Lift Reposition, and Gentle Persuasive Approach Dementia Care.
“You worked so hard to get here,” Program Coordinator Eliza Casey told the participants as family, friends, and other special guests looked on. “I witnessed so much growth in each of you, overcoming obstacles and challenges along the way. I am so grateful to have met you and proud of what you were able to achieve in six weeks.
“I am confident you will reach all your goals, and I wish you all the best on your journey.”
The program consists of six weeks of classroom time and a six-week placement at a care facility. Participating facilities were The Mount Continuing Care, Corrigan Home, and Miscouche Villa.
Phil Davison, Program Facilitator, says he was impressed to see the participants engage with the residents they met while touring the participating facilities. He noted this interaction showed that they cared for the people.
“During the program, we spent a lot of time together and got to know each other well,” Phil says of the participants. “We had some great discussions about adaptability, conflict resolution, teamwork, how to work with difficult people, how do you check your emotions, and how you deal with your own mental health.”
Another highlight was helping participants create professional portfolios to keep their resumés, reference letters, mission statements, values, future goals, and other documents of personal accomplishments. Each participant now has a great employment tool they can use well beyond this program.
“When we first met, many of you said you didn’t think you had any gifts or transferable skills to offer. After six weeks, you have discovered a lot of gifts to contribute to the workplace and in life,” he says. “I like that you left notes of encouragement to each other in your portfolios. Take time to read these compliments on the days you need encouragement.”
Some participants’ comments
Lorie: “I am a strong, independent person who enjoys helping others in their personal growth. I have a strong desire to become a Resident Care Worker working with individuals coping with their mental health, helping them be the best they can be.”
Catherine: “I gained confidence and a better self-foundation after taking this course. What stands out the most is the wonderful people I met here. We became a united front and gave each other courage, confidence, and friendship. I like this poem that goes ‘You don’t know how strong you are until you are pushed beyond what you thought you could handle/ You emerge with more bravery, grace, determination, and confidence than you ever realized.’”
Danni: “I was going day by day, working a job I didn’t really care about until someone suggested I would make a good Resident Care Worker. It was something I was willing to try, but never had the opportunity to, until I found this program. I see this as a big change in my life that will get me on a path to a good career.”
Diana: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to take this program. I learned a lot from my classmates, who were very supportive. I rediscovered my voice and I look forward to starting a new career in Canada.”
Hannah: “I have a daughter and we live in Summerside, so I thought it would be a challenge for me to travel to Charlottetown every day so early for class. To my surprise, I enjoyed learning and participating in class. We had fun working on our presentations, and I have great memories to look back on. I am very lucky and privileged to get this opportunity. Thank you for your generosity. It gave me encouragement to pursue a career in healthcare.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about the Essential Employability Skills Health Sector program, visit www.peiliteracy.ca/ees
To learn more about the PEI Literacy Alliance and the services they provide, call 902-368-3620 or visit www.peiliteracy.ca
This project was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Skills for Success program.