For years, Kerry Alec searched, without success, to find permanent employment in her hometown of Burns Lake following her graduation from Lakes District Secondary School.
Eventually, she decided to turn her situation into an opportunity becoming a stay-at-home mother when her and her partner, Dwayne, decided to start a family.
Fast-forward 13 years, Kerry, with two school-aged children, decided it was time to pursue a career once again. Kerry knew she was talented but understood she needed something that would prove that potential to employers.
Having heard of the high employment rates graduates of the Applied Business Technology Administrative Assistant program at the College of New Caledonia’s (CNC) Lake District campus had, he encouraged Kerry to apply.
“I wanted to update my skills but I needed an education that was close to home and fit with my children’s schedule,” she said. “CNC’s program had a good reputation so I decided to give it a shot.”
Lake Babine Nation supported Kerry’s education, paying her tuition and living allowance while she attended CNC. Starting her program in 2015, Kerry quickly worked hard to fit her education around her family life. Her instructor was “amazing, and very supportive” but she said she soon realized to succeed both at school and home she was would have to become an expert at time management.
“I stayed after class and did homework,” Kerry said. “I came in early and did homework. If I knew I was going to miss a day, I did my work ahead of time or worked really hard to finish my assignments on time.”
Her instructor constantly stretched the boundaries of what she was comfortable doing. That drive is what Kerry said prepared her the most for working.
“Thanks to her, I was ready and confident to tackle any challenge that comes my way,” she said.
In the end, her decision to pursue an education was worth it. In 2016, Kerry graduated with honours from the Administrative Assistant program and was immediately hired as a receptionist at Lake Babine Nation.
She eventually returned to CNC when she accepted a term position as an Aboriginal support worker at the Lakes District campus. When funding for the position came to an end, Kerry was hired as a family empowerment worker with Carrier Sekani Family Services where she is still employed.
“The Administrative Assistant Certificate program gave me the confidence and skill set to succeed,” Kerry said. “From communication skills to computer skills, I have been using everything I learned on a daily basis. It was the hands-on real life projects that gave me an excellent understanding of the rewards and challenges that administrative assistants face. “