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RAYS’ bursary students share experiences, job opportunities

Creemore Echo Posted May 14, 2020
In addition to the scholarships that RAYS awards to university students, the Bursary program is prospering.
Nick Forrest, chair of the bursary committee says, “I am delighted that we are now able to award 12 two-year bursaries annually to students entering a community college or apprenticeship program. Our aim, through financial support and mentoring, is to support these students in gaining the knowledge, confidence and qualifications that will help them to find work in their chosen careers.”
Three recipients share their RAYS experience:

Allison Fachnie just graduated from Humber College’s two-year horticultural technician program.
“It was a work-intensive apprenticeship,” she says. “I gained a lot of knowledge and the skills that will be really useful in my job.”
Fachnie was encouraged to take the program by Chris Martin, owner of Complete Outdoor Services in Glencairn, where she has worked in recent summers. She, in turn would encourage students who have an interest in the trades to look into an apprenticeship program.
“Being certified raises your professionalism, making you a more valued employee,” she said.
Fachnie graduated from Stayner Collegiate Institute in 2018.
Of RAYs program, she said, “being teamed with a mentor was really helpful in planning my future and meeting new people in the community. The financial support helped cover the cost of commuting to classes in Toronto, and for the tools I needed.”
Fachnie’s goal is to one day own her own horticultural business.

When COVID-19 shut down Fanshaw College, in London, Allison McLeod, a second-year business student came home, only to discover that the home internet wasn’t strong enough to support everyone with their work-at-home needs. So, she returned to London and the house she had been renting along with four fellow students.
Being the only person in the house at this time allowed her to study and work on two major projects in a quiet environment. Taking her bike back with her meant that she could get some fresh air and exercise every day.
Now back home, she has an office job with a local company for the summer. The income is important because her decision to switch to a Bachelor of Commerce degree program in management and leadership means she will have five semesters to complete, without a summer break.
“The RAYS bursary made a big difference for me,” she said. “It gave me the security that I would be all right financially through the year.”

From the time she was a little girl, Emily Arsenault wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a police officer.
“He not only interested me in police work, he inspired me,” she says.
Arsenault graduated in 2019 from Stayner Collegiate Institute and is currently enrolled in the two-year police foundations program at Fanshaw College in London.
With eight courses each semester and a part-time job, it was, she admits, “a lot of work.”
When she graduates next year, she hopes to be accepted, into the college’s advanced course. Because they accept only 15 of the 300 applicants, she is keeping her options open, also planning to apply to the cadet program of the London Police Service.
SCI’s Student Success Teacher urged Arsenault to apply for a RAYS bursary.
“I was thrilled to receive it,” she says. “Not only for the financial help, but for the mentoring offered throughout the year. This meant that when I wanted advice, I had a place to go to complement my family’s support.”
Having just landed a summer job at a local supermarket, she says she is feeling very fortunate.