Learning to work
It was a chance that Alanise Wildman and Shaunna Pierro-Hunter couldn’t turn down.
When the Stoney Nakoda Nation — a First Nations territory located in Morley, Alberta (about 45 minutes west of Calgary) announced last year it was partnering with Bow Valley College to offer a customized Business Administration Certificate program right where they live, the two friends encouraged each other to further their career training.
Their decisions more than paid off. Not only were their academic performances impressive, they were immediately hired as administrative assistants at the Bow Valley College campuses in Cochrane and Canmore, respectively.
“I applied to the College for my practicum, which was part of the program, and I was placed,” says Alanise. “When it was over, they weren’t looking for full-time assistance, but one of the employees told me that Bow Valley College in Cochrane had an opening. I went for the interview and got hired. They liked the fact that I was a graduate of their program. I thought it was really cool.”
Settling into the job was easier than she thought, citing that the practical components of the curriculum and co-op work experience helped her be job-ready. Alanise is also a doula and childbirth educator and adds the academic training she gained will also be valuable as she grows her own small business.
She notes that residents in her community were both impressed and inspired by her success.
“Many people didn’t know I took the course here in Morley, but knew I was working at Bow Valley College,” she says. “They would ask ‘How did you get that job?’ I would tell them how the course helped me and encouraged them to stop in at the Cochrane and the main campus to find out for themselves what the College can offer.”
Shaunna Pierro-Hunter remembers the moment she said yes to the course — and happily claims it changed her life.
“I always knew I wanted to be in business and education and when I saw that the opportunity was open to everyone — not just band members — I thought it was great,” she says. “It was hard at first because it was a fast-track program, so it was intense. My family and friends kept me going. I definitely surprised myself and I gained independence and confidence.”
Since Shaunna knows how much care and attention goes into planning and teaching at the College, she encourages others to take the leap into furthering their education here.
“It makes me super proud when people in my community or on campus ask advice on how to start their education at the College,” she says. “I tell them that I just graduated last year and look where it took me. Yes, it’s hard work, but I tell everyone that there is a rainbow at the end of all the stormy moments.”
Shaunna currently serves as a member of the College’s Indigenous Learner Recruitment and Retention Working Committee and is already planning to pursue her diploma in Business Administration at Bow Valley College this Fall.
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Posted on June 22, 2018