Trying to complete high school or get a higher level of education as an adult can seem like a daunting task.
But Valley Adult Learning Association (VALA), a non-profit agency funded through the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU), has helped eliminate some of the intimidation by assisting adults in finding career paths that are fulfilling.
One learner who attended VALA did so after being referred to the organization by his physician in April of 2019.
His long-term health conditions made it difficult to hold down a full-time job, and he found that staying home every day caused him a lot of anxiety and depression.
“He had serious health problems" said VALA employee Tracey Omerod. "But his confidence in 10 days just sky rocketed and everything he went for, he just got accepted.”
The learner enrolled in several classes being offered through VALA at the time and as his training progressed, he began to enjoy learning.
He was quickly referred to Seven Generations Education Institute for the Office Administration course.
The learner registered for Introductions to Computers and Excel, where he enjoyed the courses so much he decided to sign up for online classes through this past summer.
He's currently attending Seven Generations and is very excited for his future.
“He's managing his pain, he's doing really well and he just hopes to get the course under his belt and go from there—perhaps to a university level one day,” Omerod noted.
Meanwhile, another individual who immigrated to Fort Frances from China in March of 2018 has been able to achieve a lot in a short period of time at VALA.
On arrival to Fort Frances, she had completed Grade 11 and VALA referred her to the Rainy River District School Board for high school courses where she successfully graduated Grade 12 in June, 2018.
“The VALA experience has been precious for my life and future in Canada,” the individual said.
“The VALA workers have helped me so much with my education and path going forward and have totally welcomed me into their office and the community," she added. "I am very grateful.”
After her arrival into town, she quickly became involved in the community and became motivated to improve her education and become employed.
The learner attended the English Conversation class and with the skills gained from VALA secured a job at Starbucks here.
“VALA supported the individual through the initial months of employment and helped her complete necessary paperwork such as enrolment and health and safety documents and visited her daily at work to see how she was progressing,” Omerod noted.
“The biggest barrier for her was the English language but she's a quick learner and with help and support she soon became valued member of the work team.”
VALA supplied the individual with a study guide for Citizenship and provided her with all the information she needed to apply, according to Omerod.
She achieved the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada certificate in January 2018 and completed the Canadian Language Benchmark Test Level 5 and 6.
VALA then referred her to NCDS and Confederation College where she enrolled in the PSW course in September 2018.
This was a very tough course for the individual and VALA assisted her by supporting her in her education and attending meetings at UNFC and Confederation College with her so that she could understand how to achieve the best results possible.
She gained credits in Anatomy and Physiology, Persuasive Writing, Professional Growth and supportive Care Theory.
The individual is currently studying Grade 12 Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Math and intends to go to University to study Medicine.
Omerod is incredibly proud of the success she has achieved.