Ready to Help
Advanced Counselling Skills empowers settlement worker to help more new immigrants
Aurora Rodulfa wasted very little time getting settled in her new country. She arrived in Canada from the Philippines in 2006, earned her Certificate of Canadian Social Work in 2007 and was hired for her first position in the country in April 2008. But that was just the start of her professional development in Canada.
“I began work as a settlement counsellor,” she recalls. “Basically, my job was to help new immigrants address their many needs when they arrived in Canada – to provide information, referrals or anything else that may have needed.”
After working with new Canadians for a few months, Aurora began to search for ways to offer them more, and she decided a return to school was her best course of action. Continuing Education at George Brown College, for many reasons, quickly rose to the head of the class.
“I was working in the Parkdale area, so the fact that it was just one TTC ride to the St. James campus made George Brown very attractive,” Aurora says. “Plus, it was very affordable, which created an unbeatable combination in my eyes.”
She began taking classes toward the Advanced Counselling Skills Certificate in September 2008 and was pleased with her decision.
“I was hooked instantly,” Aurora says. “I was very impressed with the teachers’ credentials and what they do in the classroom. To be honest, that’s why I keep coming back.”
Not only were the courses enjoyable and the teachers fantastic,but the lessons were valuable to her work as a settlement counsellor. In fact, Aurora put that education to good use immediately.
“The first module was extremely helpful as it dealt with how to conduct interviews and establish rapport,” she says. “The ideas were very different from what I had been doing but, since I’m talking to people each and every day, those techniques have had a great effect on my ability to do my job.”
Since completing her certificate in September 2009, Aurora continues to share with others how her return to school positively affected both her approach and her work.
“Because I deal with very new immigrants, I have the opportunity to steer them toward educational institutions, and I am proud to recommend Continuing Education programs at George Brown College,” she says. “I want to encourage people to pursue their education and not merely settle for work. The networking opportunities alone are worth it – they will help you get hired.”
Aurora‘s quest to offer her clients even more, coupled with her desire to upgrade her own skills, led to her return to George Brown – on a number of occasions. She completed her Community Mental Health Case Management Certificate in 2010 and her Life Skills Coach Training Certificate in December 2011. And she also earned her Masters in Social Work.
“Each and every certificate course I have taken from George Brown truly helped shape me professionally as a social worker and helped me immensely in my Masters work,” she says. “The Community Mental Health Case Management certificate really taught me what mental health, and the mental health system, is all about, while the Life Skills certificate made me a more creative person when it came to making lesson plans for workshops and seminars.”
Aurora is currently completing a full-time internship, as part of her academic requirements for her Masters, working as a service coordinator for senior clients in a community agency. The position affords her the opportunity to utilize all of her skills – and to acquire new ones in the field of geriatric social work.
“For me, there’s no better way to improve yourself than to go back to school,” she says. “And Continuing Education at George Brown College is affordable, flexible and industry-leading. The people in my classes are future colleagues in my profession and can act as connections to future career growth. I’m always grateful for that opportunity.”