Abera Dessalegn

Academic Upgrading

New country, new school = newly employed

Starting over doesn’t have to be a frightful task, especially in an atmosphere that welcomes diversity and change.

Signing on to get a NorQuest College education will give you just that and more: a workforce-ready education amid a diverse peer group that reflects who we are as a nation.

Just ask recent NorQuest College graduate Abera Dessalegn, who is now working as a health care aide (HCA) at Edmonton’s Kipnes Veterans Centre.

It was two years ago the 35-year-old father of two arrived in Canada from Ethiopia, leaving his wife and children behind with the promise he would call for them once he got on his feet.

His first task upon arrival was finding quality and affordable post-secondary programming geared to fit his needs. He found that in NorQuest’s 21-week health care aide certificate program.

“Since I was new to Canada, I found that longer term study programs were too expensive for me. But I found the HCA program to be perfect.”

It was perfect not only because of the affordability but because he knew it would help him achieve an even bigger goal.

“I wanted a starting point for other future work in the health care industry here in Canada,” he says. “I like helping people. It’s about compassion. It needs to come from the heart and being a health care aide is one of the best opportunities to be involved in someone’s life who needs help and to give them comfort. It makes me think: what about me; I may need help in the future.

He thanks NorQuest’s faculty for adding to his passion for a career in health.

“My instructors, wow, they made me love the course,” he says. “They are so awesome. They encouraged me and made me understand how the entire health care system is good for everyone, and myself.”

Today, Abera’s family is with him in Edmonton. He knows his perseverance, and trust in places like NorQuest, will go a long way to providing his children an example to follow.