Everyone who took a brand-new program at Bow Valley College has gotten a job, even in the midst of one of the worst recessions Calgary has seen.
The class of nine students were the first to graduate with a Bow Valley College’s recreation therapy aide (RTA) certificate, where they learned skills to help them in the health industry.
“There is always a need for them. I thought it was something that really needed to be there in my years as a recreation therapist,” said instructor Mike Batante, referring to the program.
“You can tell the difference between someone who had formal training and someone who didn’t. Calgary had a major lack for this kind of a program — it was really difficult to find someone with this kind of an education.”
Most graduates of the RTA program had backgrounds in being a nursing aide or occupational therapy aide. The six-month certificate provided students with tools to better serve patients, Batante said.
“When you hire nurses or a nurse’s aide, you get nursing. When you hire recreation therapy aides, you get recreation. Sometimes people think the two cross over, but that’s just not the case.”
Graduate Martyna Dobrowolska has taken the skills she learned in the program and applies them to her job at the McKenzie Towne Care Centre.
“Some of the main things I took out of the program were how to improve the quality of life for the residents in a lot of ways: Spiritually, emotionally, physically and cognitively,” she said.
Batante said he loves seeing students like Martyna succeed in putting theory behind their jobs.
“They have learned that there is a purpose behind recreation therapy, as opposed to just playing bingo,” he said. “They can now really provide opportunities and meaningful experiences to people who are in long-term care.”
The group of RTA students were part of the 414 people that graduated from Bow Valley College in January.