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Conference leads to career launch for Applied Accounting grad

February 13, 2020

Erika Falcao credits Red River College for pointing her in the right direction.

Falcao, who is from Recife, Brazil, graduated from RRC’s Applied Accounting program in 2017. She works at Bokhaut Chartered Professional Accountants Inc., an accounting firm that specializes in working with physicians.

She was first made aware of Bokhaut through RRC’s annual Directions Conference, which connects business and applied arts students with industry professionals.

“I met a Bokhaut representative at the Directions Conference and then I sent them my resume. After a couple weeks I got an interview and a job, even before my graduation,” says Falcao.

“So when I finished the program, I had a job already. It was the first and only place I applied to, which was really great.”

Falcao started as a staff accountant at Bokhaut in June 2017, and in January 2019 was promoted to a manager position.

It makes sense that she was able to climb the ranks so quickly, given she worked as a financial analyst for a Brazilian construction company.

Back home, Falcao also earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, as well as a master’s in Business Administration, Financial Management, Auditing and Control from Fundação Getúlio Vargas.

“I didn’t find [Applied Accounting at RRC] that difficult,” Falcao says.

“I really liked the instructors — they were all very knowledgeable and I admired them a lot. It also helped already knowing the concepts of accounting. The program was helpful because even though I have a background in Brazil, I still needed a Canadian background to get the job.” Read More →

Range of programming preps Business Technology grad for role in project management

December 10, 2019

A graduate of Red River College’s Business Technology Management (BTM) program, Manchanda is currently working as a Technical Project Manager at Web Wizards Inc., a Winnipeg-based company that specializes in web design and development, with focuses on online marketing, search engine optimization and software development.

In his role, Manchanda is responsible for making sure that everyone is working within scope and following the framework of the team’s assignment. He’s also accountable for tracking the performance of projects and ensuring they come in on time and within budget, and that they ultimately satisfy his clients’ needs and expectations.

As an international student from New Delhi, India, Manchanda’s focus was on getting accepted to a college that had an excellent standing, and a strong success rate of graduates being able to find employment in their fields of study.

“I believe the BTM program is the best in the field, with a rounded curriculum that not only gave me the necessary project management skills but also familiarized me with business law, financial accounting and analysis and economics, along with a variety of other necessary skill sets that you require when operating an IT business,” says Manchanda, who graduated from the program in 2017.

BTM is a two-year diploma program offered at RRC’s Exchange District Campus. The program provides grads with the necessary knowledge and skills to analyze, design and manage projects and businesses related to the field of information technology.

Manchanda, who came to Canada in late 2015, adjusted to life in a new land quite quickly. He says RRC helped him to acclimate to a new country, a new city and a new culture. Within a short time of being here, he was also able to secure employment. Read More →

Partnership with Shenyang Institute provides head start for Electrical Engineering grad

November 26, 2019

Sophie Shi knows that knowledge is power.

A 2018 graduate of Red River College’s Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) program, Shi works as a junior electrical designer at Hatch. A global engineering firm, Hatch supplies project and construction management services, as well as consulting and operational services to the mining and metals, energy and infrastructure industries.

Shi, who is from Liaoning province in northeastern China, started at Hatch a year and a half ago on the strength of her final project in the EET program.

“[The project] was about home energy monitoring by using SEL (Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories) company software and equipment,” says Shi, 26, who did her co-op placement at Hatch. “[Hatch] was using SEL company software and equipment, that’s why they were very interested in my final project.”

Shi’s duties at Hatch include assisting engineers with 2D and 3D drafting works, as well as project deliverables, including reviews of vendor drawings, cable lists, and some basic interconnection drawing design work.

Shi says she enjoys working at Hatch, which has an office location in downtown Winnipeg.

“I never feel bored,” she says. “At Hatch, engineers are highly qualified, they teach me before I start the project drafting work. I get the chance to understand and learn the electrical design. My manager provided me 40 hours of 3D modelling training when I entered the company.”

“In addition, Hatch provides exciting social events for us after the work day every month.”

Shi came to RRC through a partnership with Shenyang Engineering Institute in China. This meant that she was able to skip the first year of EET and go straight into year two of the 28-month diploma program. Read More →

Community connections: Business grad expands network via volunteer and mentorship roles

November 12, 2019

Kanupriya Sidhu knows that when you help others, you help yourself.

Sidhu came to Canada from Punjab, India in early 2016 to study Business Administration at Red River College. While here, she sought out volunteering opportunities as a way of adjusting to a new country and culture.

“The first year I was pretty much trying to adjust to what was going on. Everything was different,” says Sidhu, 21, who graduated from the program in 2018.

“Studying wasn’t really hard for me. I was a bright student and I was doing well with my courses. I wanted to focus more on fitting myself into this culture and community, to get to know people and feel more comfortable and more at home in this place if I’m going to stay here for awhile.”

Sidhu acted as a Diversity Ambassador at RRC, a role that saw her promoting diversity on campus, providing peer support and assisting in the organization of events and activities.

“I used to volunteer a lot on campus, just because it kept me busy and also helped me interact with new people,” she says.

“I learned a lot about how the community thinks, how it works, and a lot about the culture of Canadian people. I also got to interact with instructors and management while organizing the activites. Volunteering added a lot to my experience here.”

In addition to her ambassador work, Sidhu also co-chaired RRC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) committee, an initiative of World University Service of Canada.

“Every year, the SRP sponsors a student refugee and we support them on campus,” Sidhu says.

“I went to Ottawa in August 2017 and there was a leadership training program for SRP committee heads. That was a whole new experience because I got a chance to interact with people from more than 100 colleges and universities from all over Canada.” Read More →

Package deal: Machining grad’s skill set prepares him for range of roles in manufacturing

October 15, 2019

A graduate of Red River College’s Precision Metal Machining program, Bojorquez works as an assistant operator at Winpak Ltd., a company that manufactures and distributes packaging materials.

Bojorquez, who is from Cancun, Mexico, credits RRC with helping him to develop a comprehensive skill-set that has enabled him to be a go-to guy at his workplace.

“What I learned from my teachers is not just how to run the machines, but to respect the machines. You need to take care of them. If you know how they work, you know when something is wrong and you know how to fix it,” says Bojorquez, 36, who graduated from the year-long pre-employment program in 2016.

“I’ve been with Winpak for almost two years, and because of the knowledge that I acquired from Red River, my supervisor always moves me from one area to another to another. I’m one of the few people that knows how to be in every single side of the department.”

In Mexico, Bojorquez worked in the sales department for a hotel and resort operator. With a desire to work with his hands (and hotel/resort work hard to come by in wintery Winnipeg), Bojorquez opted to pursue an entirely different path at RRC.

“I chose Precision Metal Machining because it was the first step for me to go into Mechanical Engineering Technology, which is also at Red River,” Bojorquez says.

“But my family grew — I have two kids now and another coming, so it was not that easy to continue. Then I started working, and everything changes in our life. I want to go back to Red River eventually, but not to go into Mechanical Engineering Technology. Now, I want to do Aerospace Manufacturing.” Read More →

Empathy in action: Culture shock gives way to community support for Health Care Aide alum

September 12, 2019

A graduate of Red River College’s Health Care Aide program, Tesfamariam works as a health care aide at Extendicare in Winnipeg, helping senior citizens live comfortable lives.

“As a health care aide, I help the residents with their daily living and activities, like cleaning them, bathing them and dressing them,” she says. “I love it. Helping people, I love to do that.”

Tesfamariam, 37, immigrated in 2013 from Asmara, Eritrea. Asmara is the capital and most populous city in the African country, which is located along the Red Sea and bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

“My husband heard from his friend that Red River College was the nicest college here and that it is acceptable everywhere,” Tesfamariam says.

“My husband encouraged me to attend English for Adults classes (at RRC’s Language Training Centre). I told my teacher I was interested in Health Care Aide because it is the shortest program and the requirement with my English level was easy to access. She gave me the details and after six months attending that English class, I got all the requirements, I got College access and then I took the program.”

Health Care Aide is a 20-week certificate program delivered at six RRC campuses. In the program, aspiring health care aides develop the skills they’ll need to assist clients with their physical, emotional and social needs.

Health Care Aide students also receive on-the-job training with six weeks of work placement in health care agencies.

“The way they taught us was very easy, very understandable. It was a very good course,” Tesfamariam says. “We did practice every other lesson, and the six-week practicum after you’re done (the program) was very helpful.” Read More →

Hospitality grad finds new confidence through volunteer work, extracurriculars

August 28, 2019

Pham, who is from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, is a graduate of Red River College’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program.

In addition to his studies, Pham represented his classmates on the College’s Student Advisory Board, participated in RRC’s cultural and language mentorship program and ran for a vice-president position on the RRC Students’ Association executive.

Being an active student “helps international students to be confident, (and gives them) the ability to be different, and to speak out,” says Pham, 25, who graduated from RRC in 2016.

“It was great to be on the board and it was great to run a campaign. It was a memorable time in my life. I never regret going to Red River College because there’s so much opportunity for students, but some students just don’t get to know it well, especially international students.

“My goal is one day I’m going to guide international students to where to go and where to be, and not just in academic life … That’s the best part, to be active and involved. Not just go to school, go home, read a book. No, you have to enjoy every moment.”

Pham, who is openly gay, also created and presided over RRC’s LGBTT* and Friends Club. Off campus, he acted as a tourism coordinator for the Pride Winnipeg Festival and a volunteer coordinator for the Reel Pride Film Festival.

“It’s important to me because it let me know who I am,” says Pham, who was not out before moving to Canada.

“I can be with the community more, because I have no chance to be with the community back home. I see a lot of people at Pride, successful themselves as career people, and now they also give back. They see a responsibility to do something meaningful to other people.” Read More →

Strictly business: Move from South Asia to Manitoba leads to accelerated career in accounting

July 31, 2019

Bangladesh to Canada is quite the trek, but for Anika Maria, the long road was the shortest route.

Maria is an accountant at MLT Aikins LLP in Winnipeg, a law firm with offices throughout Western Canada.

Originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city, Maria chose Red River College’s Business Administration program to accelerate her career in accounting.

“I chose Canada because the education seemed more practical to me,” Maria, 25, says.

“Back home, people actually get a degree and then a masters and then they join the field. I didn’t like that approach. I wanted to start early, I wanted to gain some experience, so I chose to come to Canada because I like the structure better. Here you can do a two-year diploma, get into the workforce, and continue your studies as you’re getting experience.”

A two-year diploma program, Business Administration is structured so second-year students declare a major in either accounting, administration, financial services, marketing or human resources.

Maria majored in accounting and completed the program in 2015. In May 2016, she was hired at St. John’s Music as an accounting manager. She moved into her current position at MLT Aikins in March of last year.

Maria believes the heavy workload in the Business Administration program has helped her move up the accounting ranks quickly.

“It’s intense. Doing six courses in every semester is intense. It doesn’t matter what major; six courses are a lot. Time management was the main thing I learned,” Maria says.

“I was actually working when I was at Red River. I was a full-time student and a part-time worker (as a cashier), so that life is what led me to prioritize things. I have these many hours in a day and I have to crunch in my assignments and go to all my classes. I have to do all of these things and then work as well.” Read More →

Instructors’ experience proves invaluable for Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic grad

June 17, 2019

A native of Shenyang, China, Lu works as a truck and transport mechanic at Custom Truck Sales in Winnipeg, where he diagnoses, maintains and repairs big rigs and medium duty trucks. 

Lu started at Custom Truck Sales shortly after graduating from Red River College’s Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic program in 2013. He says the hands-on style of learning he received at RRC set him up for success in the shop. 

“I gained a lot of really valuable knowledge and experience,” says Lu, who also goes by Yibo, his Chinese name.

“I learned a lot in the shop class at Red River College. In the school they have a real truck that you work on. You can do brake jobs, transmission overhaul, engine overhaul, same [as in] the real world. That’s fantastic.”

Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic is a one-year certificate program offered at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. The entry-level program prepares aspiring mechanics to service and repair heavy mobile equipment, with 60 per cent of the program spent doing hands-on work on heavy machinery.  

Lu, 40, says the instruction he received in the program was top-notch, taught by teachers with plenty of experience and grease on their overalls. 

“I think pretty much all the instructors had been working in this trade for a couple decades, so they were really well-educated and experienced,” he says. “They talk about the real stories that they have been through, and they shared that with us.” Read More →

Strong medicine: Health Care grad bolsters career training with double dose of certifications

May 21, 2019

Sharmaine San Juan has her finger on the pulse of the Canadian health-care system.

San Juan, who is from Bacoor, Cavite in the Philippines, graduated from Red River College’s Health Care Aide and Health Unit Clerk programs in February 2018.

Upon finishing school, San Juan, 24, immediately obtained employment as nursing assistant at Health Sciences Centre. She currently works as a pharmacy assistant at Keewatin Medical Centre & Pharmacy, as well as at Medisystem Pharmacy.

“In my current career as a pharmacy assistant, (my RRC training) benefitted me a lot because I was exposed to hospital and home-care settings, and that gave me a lot of experience in a fast-paced environment. Also, I gained knowledge of medical terminology and processing physician’s orders,” says San Juan.

“Before, as a nursing assistant, I transcribed medications on a Medication Administration Record sheet. We learned this during the Health Unit Clerk program, the drugs, generic and brand names, the acronyms for drugs, the proper time for administering medications, and also the proper drugs for some diseases.”

Before coming to Canada, San Juan studied pre-med at De La Salle University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology before moving straight to a post-graduate degree from the College of Medicine at the Health Sciences Institute in the Philippines.

In her current role as a pharmacy assistant, San Juan says she performs such tasks as counting and dispensing drugs, maintaining proper drug storage and security, packing and labeling medications, and entering patient information and prescriptions into a computer system.

“I chose to study at Red River College because of what they can offer. They are known for having a high success rate in vocational courses, which is beneficial to people who are seeking fast employment,” she says.

“I chose Health Care Aide and Health Unit Clerk because I think this is the closest to my field, being exposed to patients in a hospital setting. They are also in-demand programs which will benefit me in getting employment fast — that will also help get me through my permanent residency.” Read More →