January 18, 2012
Young Adults Getting a Second Chance
Terrance Bitternose is wearing a clean-cut suit and looks very professional as he sits down for a chat at the Ignite Adult Learning Corporation in Regina on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Regina product has been enrolled there the since August. Upon graduating and receiving his Grade 12 diploma, Bitternose hopes to continue his education and become a police officer.
Bitternose feels very lucky to have this opportunity. He became a father at the age of 18 and things "snowballed" for him after that. Bitternose dropped out of school, and for the next several years worked construction and took other jobs when he could find them. None of the jobs made Bitternose "want to get up in the morning."
That all changed when Bitternose found out about the Ignite Adult Learning Corporation, which provides young adults with the tools to become contributing members of society.
"I never thought I'd have an opportunity like this," Bitternose says. "When I wake up in the morning, I know that this isn't just for today, it's for tomorrow.
"It makes you more dependable - not just for work or anything, but for yourself."
The Ignite Adult Learning Corporation has been around since 1990, and is primarily funded by private sector companies. Each year, it hires 30 to 45 at-risk young adults as apprentices for a 43-week period, five days a week and 7 1/2 hours a day.
The apprentices are generally on social assistance and have not completed Grade 12. The program helps apprentices upgrade their education through computer, business and communication courses, offers them a driver training program and helps them develop as people. It also puts them on a career path and provides them with an apprenticeship.
The centre has had a couple of different names, most recently being known as the Regina Adult Learning Centre Foundation. This was changed to the Ignite Adult Learning Corporation Jan. 3 and was officially launched at its facility on Tuesday.
"It's more than just an adult learning centre, it's a centre for transformation of young adults from dependency, from addiction, from hopelessness, to a new reality," says Donald Gill, the centre's chairman of the executive board.
"It ignites their potential, ignites change, ignites the community's ability to sustain itself."
Andrew Scheer, Regina-Qu'Appelle MP and Speaker of the House of Commons, was one of the dignitaries in attendance on Tuesday. He feels the centre is about opportunity.
"It takes people who may lack certain basic skills, but have a real desire to improve their station in life," he says.
"We have a labour shortage in Saskatchewan and there are a lot of people who aren't able to work because they don't have some of these basic skills."
For Bitternose, remaining dedicated to the Ignite Adult Learning Corporation means providing a better future for himself and his child.
"I don't want to live life by a cheque," he says. "I want to have stability in my life. I want to be able to make sure that everything is paid for and everything is good."
- Jonathon Hamelin, Leader-Post