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Alumni Engagement

Administrative Assistant grad seeks direction — and finds a career

August 11, 2015


Arhben Tumambing was never certain what he wanted to do.

The Red River College graduate went to university after high school, and from there worked a string of what he describes as unfulfilling jobs.

While he wasn’t sure, career-wise, where he wanted to go, Tumambing — a 2014 grad of RRC’s Administrative Assistant program — says he’s always had an interest in how systems and society function.

“I just like poking problems and seeing how things work,” he says.

Tumambing now works as a recruitment clerk with the Province of Manitoba, where he was hired after completing a practicum as part of his RRC studies.

His family moved to Winnipeg from the Philippines from he was 12, and Tumambing grew up in the North End.

“ I think I was kind of a lost child at some points,” he says.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree and double-majoring in sociology and developmental studies, he worked a string of minimum wage jobs because he couldn’t find something in his field.

“My mom was more of a practical person; she was like, ‘Here’s a less-than-six-month course going on.’ She said ‘Hey, that will propel you to even greater heights and experiences.’”

Because Tumambing didn’t want to spend more time in school than necessary, it was then he decided to take the six-month Administrative Assistant program at the college.

“It was great,” he says of the program. “Well, it was great and very stressful. Everything was so fast-paced.”

He says his time in the program was a mix of support and challenges.

“Everyone was really awesome. I felt strong relationships with my classmates — you really need that connection with friends.”

He says becoming close with his classmates was invaluable to his success in the program, and everyone was helpful, especially his instructors.

He says being in a condensed program was unlike anything he’s ever done.

“And the tutors were great, A couple of my classmates and I went to go see tutors, and overall it was a very great experience,” he says.

Tumambing admits to feeling stressed during his practicum, noting the provincial department was busy and understaffed, and he was still learning to adjust

But one of his RRC instructors, Sarah Khan, helped him through the mandatory part of the program.

“The practicum placement I was in hired me immediately, so I was super-lucky, to be honest,” he says. ”Now I have a full-time job and I’m super glad to have this position.”

As a recruitment officer, Tumambing is able to balance his interest in society with the skills he learned at the College.

“It just opens up a whole new set of doors for me. I’m glad to be able to use the skills that I’ve got.”

He works with human resource clients in various departments, primarily dealing with Manitoba Infrastructure.

“I’m the gatekeeper for anyone who wishes to apply [with] the Province, in essence. I do plenty of paper work, and a lot of processing teamwork with the clients that I help,” he says.

Tumambing says the job gives him autonomy, which he enjoys, and says it feels great to be in a position where he’s in control of his workload, rather than the other way around.

“This position I have, it’s clear-cut,” he says, nothing in the future he’d like to be a policy analyst.

“There are some procedures that you have to go through, but how you go about it gives you a lot of creative expression. It may seem like a lot of paperwork to some, but [you have to] consider the intricacy of it.”

Learn more about RRC’s Administrative Assistant program, available through the School of Continuing Education.