Starting 2023 with a bang, NPower Canada held our National Graduation Ceremony on January 26th, celebrating the achievements of 780 graduates from across Canada.
NPower Canada has certainly come a long way – in 2015, our first graduating class had a modest 87 participants. Yesterday, in our first graduation ceremony of 2023, we celebrated 780 graduates who had successfully completed our programs and earned industry-recognized certifications.
Our COO, Andrew Reddin opened the ceremony by congratulating our participants from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia, who commenced their journey with NPower Canada in September 2022, looking to launch their careers in tech, and completed the program just before the new year, in December. Our Board Chair, Stephen Gardiner, was then asked to share a few words.
“It has been one of life’s great pleasures to be associated with NPower Canada since its inception. To the 780 graduates today, congratulations to each of you on a marvelous accomplishment, you all have such bright futures ahead of you,” Stephen shared.
Our Vice President of Development, Molly Hill, took the time to thank our funders, whose support is vital to helping us scale impact across Canada. Their generosity allowed us to launch our first bilingual site in Québec, scale our programs province-wide in Alberta and Nova Scotia, and increase enrollment in Ontario and British Columbia. As a result, we enrolled a total of 2,500 participants into our programs in 2022.
Molly then introduced Lisa Everett, Community Engagement Lead, Microsoft Philanthropies, to share a few words about our transformative and long-standing partnership with them. Microsoft helped us launch our Junior Data Analyst stream, and has been an integral player in the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator Project, aimed at launching 4,300 job-seekers into tech careers.
Lisa also presented the Above and Beyond Award to Grad Murray, who has exhibited hard work and dedication in the classroom and been a source of inspiration to their peers.
We were also excited to present another one of our amazing partners, Accenture, with our Employer Achievement Award. Accenture has been a steadfast champion of NPower Canada since our inception, and recently hit the 100th-hire milestone!
Next, attendees were able to learn about what has been going on in each of the provinces we serve, as well as hear from graduate speakers from British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Ontario. Here are some highlights from their speeches:
“As a newcomer, I was going through all the jitters and rigors that newly landed immigrants must confront. It was a challenging time for me – alone in a new place, with two kids in tow, and barely any family or friends to fall back on. In a sense, NPower Canada has been my first true point of contact, my first family in Canada. Thanks to the team, after a couple weeks into the course, I knew I had arrived at the right place, and with the right people.” – Sabita, ON Graduate Speaker
“Back in the Ukraine, I had a whole life. But in one day, everything had changed – the war had begun. In one day we lost everything we had, everything we invested into, everything we loved, built and hoped for. In one day we left with nothing, but we had each other. We saved our family – the most important resource – and in that stage we moved to a new life to a safer place which, for us, has become Canada. I began to think that I needed to learn some new skills in order to start a career within the Canadian job market… I didn’t know where to start, until I saw an advertisement about NPower Canada.” – Olena, NS Graduate Speaker
“Through NPower Canada, I learned not only about IT, but I participated in much-needed Indigenous Sharing Circles and was able to smudge, which in Blackfoot is part of Aatsimoyihkaan. If I can advocate for anything, NPower Canada can really help rural Canada. IT helps us stay close to home, stay rural.” – Jodi, AB Graduate Speaker
“Kids are a big distraction when you have no help around, which is unfortunately the case for many single mothers and newcomers. It wasn’t easy for me to balance studies with life challenges, but I am proud that I pushed myself.” – Wajeeha, ON Graduate Speaker
There were no dry eyes in the (virtual) room after those incredibly inspiring and moving speeches, demonstrating the determination and resilience of our participants. To cap off the ceremony, NPower Canada shared a virtual yearbook video that took a look back at 2022’s successes, the memories created by our participants during class, and the wonderful events our participants engaged in thanks to corporate volunteers and mentors.
We want to thank all of those who attended, and once again congratulate our graduates on the completion of the NPower Canada program. We are so excited to see what you do next, and continue to support you throughout these next steps in your careers.