Success at NWCC

  • May. 10, 2010 5:00 a.m.

submitted By Tammy Gates–Northwest Community College offers an Essential Skills for Work Program (ESWK) and I had the pleasure of instructing students in Masset from October until April. The program is geared to small, northern, isolated communities and covers many important topics such as: work skills, career exploration, career planning, work experience, computer skills, literacy and numeracy trade activities and a community project. This year, the students participated in the Aboriginal Business Entrepreneur Skills Training (Ab BEST) program, partly funded by Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, that helps aboriginal entrepreneurs learn skills needed to start a small business and keep it successful. We started the semester with 35 students, but after November 1, that dropped to less than 20. By the New Year, there were 11. These 11 attended at least 80 percent of the required school hours, completed most of the required work and participated in many continuing education courses. The 11 graduates are: Gary Bishop, Dempsey Bell, Sean Yeltatzie, Derrick Belcourt, Sandra Stewart, Laverne Storry, Larrie Thompson, Janny Brown, Jerome MacDonald, Brady Edwards and Emily Bell. Although all were required to participate in the AB BEST program, some chose to complete a business plan, while others researched various jobs and/or college programs of interest to them. Here’s a brief synopsis of the future plans of the graduates and what they hope to accomplish.Gary Bishop would like to start a bicycle repair shop. Dempsey Bell has brushed up on his computer skills. Sean Yeltatzie wants to build TV Stands and hand paint Haida designs on them. His business is titled “Scorpion TV Stands” and he hopes to start a website so he can market to locals, and off-islanders. Derrick Belcourt wants to find full time work, to use his Wilderness 1st Aid and/or boating training. Sandra Stewart has obtained casual work at Haida Health Center and will be enrolled in college in September in an Office Assistant program. Laverne Storry is looking for work and hopes to lease the OMVC building at the Hiellen to sell soup, sandwiches and beverages. Larrie Thompson works hard clam digging to gather food for himself and his family. Janny Brown wants to start a thrift store and coffee shop in her home. She recently participated in “The BEST of the BEST” in Vancouver, where top business proposals from Ab BEST programs present their ideas and support each other. Jerome MacDonald is starting a business related to Haida Art. Brady Edwards hopes to start a fishing/chartering company over the summer. Emily Bell will welcome a baby in August- good luck to her as a new mom!We had a few visitors and some donations and I’d like to say thanks to the following: The culinary arts class in Old Massett, Patricia, Marlene Ankerman, Art Lew, Maria Salazar, Errol Winter, Miriam Haywood, Hope Setso, Estrella Hepburn, Shauna Smith, Bruce Lacroix, Florence Lockyer, Jason Major and Michelle Brown, Karen McMurray, Willis Parnell and George Emes. I hope I have covered everyone, if not, my apologies, your time was greatly appreciated. Feel free to call the college or visit the website at if you’d like further information. Congratulations to these 11 students, they motivated themselves to attend school daily, for the entire period, even walking or riding bikes in the rain! Some had not attended school in years and they deserve kudos for completing this program. Congratulate them if you see them, they deserve to be proud of their accomplishments. It’s been a pleasure working with these students and I wish them luck. Success has many definitions and descriptions and these students are excellent examples of just that.