HaIL Training Program: A success story

Earlier this summer, BC Care Providers Association and EngAge BC wrapped up the HaIL Training Program, with many of its graduates finding success working as home health companions or hospitality workers in independent living. In the Q&A below, one HaIL graduate shares her story in pursuing her passion to provide care for others through the program. Read on to learn more about Katheleen Martin’s inspiring journey and how her training in the program has helped her to jumpstart her career in the sector.

How did you hear about HaIL?  

I was listening to CBC when I heard Terry Lake speaking about a Health Care Assistant program offered for free. I looked up the HCA program and applied!  

After the initial interviews and meeting the eligibility criteria I was admitted to the program. 

As the start date approached, I decided that portions of the program were not for me, so I contacted the program coordinator and withdrew. However, the coordinator who knew how much I wanted to pursue a career in service asked if she could refer me to the program coordinator of the HaIL program. I looked over the program outline and was excited to find that this was exactly what I wanted! After the initial interview I was registered and completed the course in September 2021. 

I am incredibly grateful to all the wonderful staff at BCCPA/EngAge BC for the guidance and training that led me to a career I love.  

Where did you get placed after HaIL?  

At the time that I completed the HaIL program, Covid numbers were high, and this made the placement challenging. However, I joined Comfort Keepers (in-home care for seniors) on a casual basis and took a weekend position on the desk at The Residence at Orchards Walk (independent living). Both have provided invaluable experience. 

How has HaIL impacted your professional life?  

It has allowed me to pursue my passion, which is a career in service. This is my end of career, career before retirement. The training I received, coupled with my years of experience in hospitality have given me everything I needed to start.

How has HaIL impacted your personal life? 

This is big because when I graduated at the end of September my mom and stepfather were in crisis; my mom was diagnosed as living with Alzheimer’s and was experiencing some serious drug interactions. The HaIL program provided me with invaluable training that included working with individuals living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. When my mom had a seizure, I managed to stay calm and care for her until the paramedics arrived, thanks to the First Aid training I received months earlier. Every aspect of the program was utilized in caring for my mom after the seizure. This included physical and cognitive rehabilitation, securing, and accompanying her to every medical appointment, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and supporting her through some emotionally challenging times. My stepfather also experienced a health crisis; again, my training allowed me to assist with his recovery. I am happy to report that both are doing amazing and living independently in their own home. 

And final thoughts?  

Every day I get to connect with someone whose life is enhanced through the services I offer.  

The HaIL program is fabulous, every conceivable aspect of the program is utilized on a daily basis. I look forward to seeing more graduates of the program. 

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Please note that this interview has been edited for length and clarity.