August 15, 2023

Empowering change: How a free microcredential launched Arlyn’s healthcare career

“While working in the housekeeping field, I was contemplating getting a Health Care Aide certificate. I saw the SCA program as the perfect opportunity to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue my new career path.” – Arlyn Estolero, SCA Graduate 

In October 2021, Arlyn Estolero was working in housekeeping and had no previous experience in healthcare. She was contemplating a career shift when she saw an ad for the free Supportive Care Assistant (SCA) microcertificate program at NorQuest College. The program’s unique features, including free training, a paid work placement, and a $5,000 stipend to upskill, gave Arlyn the boost she needed to start her journey into the healthcare field. 

The SCA program is a free microcertificate designed to attract and train new healthcare workers. In the last two years, over 1,000 students benefited from online training, paid work placements, and a $5,000 stipend for further studies. This provided job seekers with meaningful employment, strengthened the care sector, and supported clients and staff at 400+ establishments. 

As an SCA student, Arlyn’s paid work placement in four different departments of an assisted-living facility proved invaluable. Arlyn expressed deep gratitude for the mentorship and guidance she received during the program. The compassionate staff at the facility patiently trained and supported her as she developed the essential skills required for success in healthcare. 

Reflecting on her transformative journey, Arlyn shared, “The hands-on experience through the SCA program not only increased my confidence but it also gave me a comprehensive understanding of different areas within healthcare facilities. This exposure positively influenced my ability to adapt and contribute effectively to various aspects of healthcare.” 

After finishing the SCA program, Arlyn took advantage of a $5,000 stipend to continue her studies and enrolled in a Health Care Aide certificate program. She continued working part-time at her placement facility while pursuing her certificate but was able to prioritize her studies thanks to the financial support provided by the stipend. 

In April 2023, Arlyn eagerly sought employment as a Health Care Aide, excited about the opportunity to provide compassionate care to patients and residents, and be an integral part of a healthcare team. 

Wholeheartedly endorsing the program, Arlyn said, “My personal growth, career development, and the invaluable connections made within the healthcare community were all possible because of the SCA program. It is a very helpful program, especially for people without a healthcare background.” 

Her advice to others considering the program is simple yet powerful: embrace the experience, be open to learning, and revel in the joy of making a positive difference in the lives of seniors and patients—an experience she describes as both fun and rewarding. 

While only a limited number of colleges and institutes are currently accepting new students for the SCA program, current students and graduates can still take advantage of the $5,000 stipend to upskill.