Born and raised in the Philippines, Derrol worked the graveyard shift in a call centre and was the head of a sales department in the telecommunications industry before moving to Canada in 2015.
“When we came to Canada I applied to a telecommunications company and I was hired right away,” says Derrol. “Right after I started the Calgary Stampede began, and I was picked to be the one spearheading sales for that event. During my break I roamed around the grounds and saw MaKami College’s tent. I saw their booth and there was a long line up and I was intrigued.”
When he had a day off, he took his wife to the Stampede. “I remembered the MaKami booth and my wife loves massages so we got in line,” Derrol says. “While we were waiting in the line I saw a screen talking about the Massage Therapy and Health Care Aide (HCA) programs. I connected with the HCA program right away.”
Derrol picked up an application form, and a couple days later he took a tour of the Calgary SW campus. “So I went for the tour, and all of the staff, all the people welcomed me warmly and I felt like I was in the right school. Everyone I interacted with was very friendly and the students seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I decided to enroll that day.”
One of the things he says stuck out the most at MaKami was all the support they provide their students. “The thing that made me feel most comfortable there was all the instructors and the support team from the Strategic Academic Learning Team (SALT), who help you understand. They are always there to support you. Every time you have a concern there is always answers, and that’s what I love about MaKami.
Derrol ended up being employed full-time from one of the practicum facilities he worked for as part of his curriculum. “As soon as I entered the industry, I found my skills were more advanced than some of my colleagues,” he says. “I saw the difference in the quality of education from MaKami compared to other colleges. There were HCA’s who were newly hired there from different schools and they didn’t seem as knowledgeable in general. I am very thankful I went to MaKami because all of the instructors were supportive, informed and precise.”
Because of this high-quality training, Derrol says he didn’t have as tough of a time keeping up with changing conditions, especially with the recent emergence of Covid-19. “I was already trained with theories and labs, so when I had to apply them immediately it went very smoothly.”
After a year of working out in the field, he received a call from a staff member at MaKami, asking if he would be interested in tutoring other HCA students, and I thought why not?”
Derrol has been working at MaKami as a tutor helping students ever since. “I really enjoy it,” he says. “I love teaching fresh minds, sharing my experience and knowledge and helping them be more competitive in the job market. I always want facilities to trust MaKami as an employer of Health Care Aides and have a positive word-of-mouth of the students here.”
Now that Derrol is a member of the staff, he says he appreciates MaKami even more. “I see the intense dedication of all the staff, the commitment they provide to all students – not just for the HCA program, either. If a student needs help of any kind, they will get it at MaKami. There’s a sense of accountability to help every single student here to help support their success, and that’s wonderful to be a part of.”
Derrol says his life has improved significantly since becoming a Health Care Aide. “I’m not as stressed, I’m not struggling with a lack of sleep, and I don’t have to work nights anymore, which is all much healthier for me. It’s also so fulfilling to give back to the students and help them.
“I would recommend MaKami to anyone who is considering making a career change, because it’s a different kind of school compared to others out there. At MaKami you will get a higher quality, longer program that will set you apart from colleagues in the workforce. The support here is second to none – that kind of support just isn’t available at other schools.”