For Miya Inkster, finding high-quality, affordable child care was a big factor holding her back from returning to the work force. After a stressful separation and move that affected her financial situation, Miya ended up on income assistance and couldn’t find work that covered the cost of child care.
“I have always been a worker, but I had no support,” she explained.
Through her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre, Miya heard about the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI). She qualified for the tuition that SPEI provides but ended up getting a job before the schooling started. SPEI is covering child care expenses for Miya’s now five-year old son for the first year of her employment.
“Having the financial support, I was able to choose the right child care for him. I had struggled to find good care that I could afford.” Miya placed her son into a child care centre that helped him transition easily into kindergarten, for which she is thankful. He now attends before- and after-school care.
She is also thankful for the support that she received from the SPEI team. “They are so supportive in helping you to get where you need to be. I didn’t feel any pressure or judgment. They helped me to find where my strengths are.”
Currently, she is putting her strengths toward a career in administration, one of the in-demand jobs that many other SPEI clients are also working towards. After the financial uncertainty she had been facing, Miya is glad to be getting back on her feet, saying that a bit less stress in her life has been “priceless.”
Miya wasn’t able to get ahead without SPEI and has advice for other single parents considering the program: “It’s life changing. Get the schooling that you need. Take the help in order to help your family.”
Launched in September 2015, SPEI provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports to assist them to overcome barriers and get back into the workforce. To date, almost than 4,380 single parents have become involved in SPEI and more than 830 have already found employment.
Photo of Miya: https://flic.kr/p/QWBnAv
Learn more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/featured-services/services/employment-initiative-for-single-parents