Since becoming a single parent, Allison has always been determined to go back to school to gain the skills she needs to better support her three kids. Now, thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), their future is shaping up to be an amazing one.
As a single mother of an 8-year-old son and 6-year-old twin daughters – one of whom has required two surgeries due to being born with club feet – Allison has relied on social assistance to make ends meet since 2012. “I knew that I needed a way to become better educated, without costing too much,” explains Allison.
It was almost two years ago that things started to look up, when Allison’s dad printed out a newspaper article for her about the SPEI program. “He wanted better for me. He wanted me to have a way to support my own family.”
Once her daughters began kindergarten, and with no current work experience, Allison connected with her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre to find out what type of educational and financial supports were available to help her get back on her feet and find a reliable and good paying job.
“I had a number of great experiences with the people at WorkBC. On top of that, they helped me enrol in the SPEI program.”
Through SPEI, Allison started in the Applied Business Technology – Administrative Assistant program at the College of New Caledonia this past August and is anticipating her completion this May. “My mom took a similar college program nearly 20 years ago and has had nothing but success in her field. I’ve watched her learn and grow and move up, and I feel I can have a similar future,” Allison says, thinking of her mom’s accomplishments.
Without receiving the necessary support that single parents like Allison needed to cover the cost of tuition and books, and transportation and child care for three children, going back to school seemed impossible, but the SPEI program changed that.
With a goal of having all her grades above 90%, Allison continues to push herself. After her first set of exams, she reached her goal in three classes, and is at 85%-89% in her other three. “I am proud of myself and my hard work! I am ready for next semester to try even harder to reach my goal in all my courses.”
Allison’s kids are always at the heart of why she works so hard day-in and day-out. “They are at such impressionable ages. Seeing me do my homework and worrying about keeping my grades up shows them how important an education really is.”
When it comes to other single parents, and whether they should enrol in the SPEI program, Allison has a clear message to send: “Do it! It’s worth it! I feel more confident in myself than ever before and I finally have a positive outlook on my family’s future. You can too.”
The Single Parent Employment Initiative provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports including up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or paid work experience placement, transit costs to and from school, and child care costs during their training or work placement and in the first year of employment. Single parents can also remain on income assistance while attending a training program. Since its launch in September 2015, 4,200 single parents have become involved in SPEI and almost 770 have already found employment.