Manny Valencia, Personal Support Worker

When Manny Valencia first came to Canada, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for work. But on his second day in the country, sitting in a Service Canada office, he came to a realization. He wanted to study and expand his career possibilities. That’s when he looked up Evergreen College.

Manny decided to undertake the Personal Support Worker Certificate program. Back in his home in the Philippines, he had already been looking after for his bed-bound brother and 84-year old Aunty, so caring was in his nature. “I thought, why not relate my work to something I was doing in the Philippines. Now it is my passion.” he says.

Evergreen provided the stepping stone for Manny to pursue his passion. Manny credits small class sizes as well as a schedule that fit with his family life and part-time job to his success. Most of all however, Manny says the key to his learning was having instructors with real-world experience.

“One thing that really impresses me at Evergreen College is that the instructors are very knowledgeable and have a very wide range of experience. You cannot teach something to someone based on theory alone. It’s about putting theory into practice.”

The real-world experience of the instructors meant that Manny learnt not just one way to approach a situation, but many – a skill that serves him well in his current role.

He also received support from Evergreen College in other ways. Counsellors at Evergreen helped him get his resume in order, practice answering interview questions and offering tailored career postings. This was important for Manny because different countries can have very different styles and expectations when it comes to the job application process.

After his classroom time was done, Manny went on placement to the facility where he now works, Kensington Gardens long-term care home in Toronto, Ontario. While there, he impressed staff members, with the Director of Care asking to see his resume after only a few short weeks.

Manny works for Kensington Gardens assisting residents with their personal care, feeding and mobility. For Manny, his job truly is a labour of love. “I have to take the job very personally” he says, “you aren’t treating residents like they’re different. You’re treating them as your family.”

In one short year Manny has gone from coming to Canada without a plan, to getting a qualification, getting work experience and now securing a permanent part-time job. “Because of Evergreen I got a new job, I got new knowledge and I got experience. And a very wonderful experience.”

But Manny is not finished yet. He sees personal support work as a career and is now going to school during the day to get his Canadian equivalents and up-skill further, all while working part-time for Kensington Gardens in the evening and caring for his son. “I believe that life is a process of learning.” Manny says.