NIC's Human Services department and its programs are part of a provincial network that ensures not only high-quality instruction and programming, but also transferability throughout the province.
At the Port Alberni campus, the Education Assistant/Community Support, Indigenous Focus certificate is offered in two ways: over 10 months of full-time study, or over 20 months of part-time study. The full time option contains three terms and the part time option contains five.
In the program courses which provide a base for enhancing communication skills and critical analysis you will learn a variety of frameworks for analyzing the structure and problems within society and will explore different models for supporting families and individuals. You will study human development through the lifespan as well as have opportunities to explore in-depth theories, skills and positive behaviour support strategies. You will learn to support the health and wellness of individuals through supervised placements in a community agency and school settings as well s weekly seminars where you will discuss ethical issues and reflect upon your practice experiences.
You will explore in-depth theories, skills and supports required for education assistance and community support work.
To complete the program, you will complete six weeks of full-time supervised practice experience in a community agency or school. The final term also provides you with exposure to the field which can help you gain employment.
The Education Assistant/Community Support, Indigenous Focus program provides the same training in classroom assistance, disabilities and ethics found in the Education Assistant/Community Support program while providing a greater understanding of the culture and history of Indigenous learners.
You will develop intercultural communication skills as you study First Nations education and learn about contemporary Canadian social and family issues. There is a focus on Indigenous populations with opportunities to participate directly in cultural events such as potlatches, lahal games and witnessing governance ceremonies. The program promotes volunteering and community participation and is based on the concept that self-awareness is integral in the ability to help others. The medicine wheel paradigm provides a model of human health and balance.
As a graduate of the Educational Assistant/Community Support, Indigenous Focus program, you will be well-prepared to assist individuals who have physical, cognitive and psychiatric disabilities.
As an education assistant, you will qualify to work in schools and, under the supervision of the teacher, provide classroom support.
As a community support worker, you may pursue career in community-based or government agencies, in departments that assist individuals with diverse needs.
Some graduates have started their own community support businesses and hold contracts with a variety of government and non-government agencies.