For Naz, everything has lined up to help her get off income assistance and into an in-demand career, thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), a government program that is covering her tuition and other expenses.
After a series of car accidents that left her unable to continue doing the physical work involved in running her own cleaning company and with an infant daughter to look after, Naz needed income assistance. She had no intention, however, of waiting to change her circumstances.
“My plan was not to be on income assistance,” she said. “I was very motivated.”
Naz was so motivated that only one month after finding out about SPEI, she was already starting classes for the legal administrative assistant certificate program at Capilano University.
Having wanted to be a lawyer while in high school and having since had experience with the court system, she says the program is a perfect fit.
“I get to be in a field that interests me. I can’t believe I was so lucky,” Naz said.
While she feels fortunate to have connected with SPEI, there is no denying that her own hard work is playing a big role in the results she is already achieving.
“I have mommy brain big time, but I’m still getting straight As – even A+ in some classes.”
Her daughter, now 15 months old, is busy and can be a big distraction. With SPEI covering the cost of day care, Naz knows that her daughter is well cared for during the day, allowing her to focus on school and homework.
Without SPEI, Naz says, “I would have been in such a deep hole. I would have had to cover child care and rent. No, there’s no way.”
Not only has SPEI covered her school, child care and living expenses. SPEI also has boosted her confidence. “I didn’t realize my potential and what I am capable of. It’s done great things for me.”
Naz feels that fate played a role in connecting her with SPEI, and is paying it forward to other single parents by telling them about the program every chance she has.
“Just believe in yourself and you can do it.”
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 a paid work experience placement;
- transit costs to and from school; and
- child-care costs during their training or work placement and in their first year of employment.
Single parents can remain on income assistance while attending a training program.
Since its launch in September 2015, over 4,415 single parents have become involved in SPEI. Almost 850 have found employment.
Single Parent Employment Initiative: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/featured-services/services/employment-initiative-for-single-parents