Trade Exploration Profile: Laura Hlady

Laura’s been able to see new potential for her future and learned that she can accomplish more than she gave herself credit for.

In 2008, Laura Hlady sustained a brain injury from a golf club that left her shyer and more withdrawn than ever before.

Though she spent most of her life in Surrey, Laura found herself with nowhere to go in 2013. She reached out to a friend in Prince George and has lived here ever since.

Laura was introduced to the Prince George Brain Injury Group (PG BIG) and the folks there quickly became her new family. Through regular meetings with her group, it was decided that they wanted to talk to someone about further education and certification for employment.

In 2019, Laura was chosen as one of eight students to participate in a new Trades Exploration Program at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) in Prince George.  

The program, which is a first for British Columbia, was developed to help underemployed and unemployed individuals with brain injuries explore trades occupations as a carpenter, automotive service technician, and professional cook as well as gain the skills needed to obtain entry into in those industries.

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) and PG BIG partnered with the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA) and CNC to fund and deliver this innovative 12-week pilot program.  

Laura’s favorite part of the program has been carpentry. The instructor introduced the class to Kahoot!, an interactive quizzing/testing tool, and for the first time ever Laura enjoyed taking a test.

“It takes the pressure off and cultivates an environment for learning, making testing less intimidating, fun and more inclusive,” Laura said. “Because of the Trades Exploration program, going back to school didn’t feel so scary anymore. It seemed like an opportunity and not an obstacle. I went in with an open mind and the facilities at CNC were beyond my expectations.”

Laura’s been able to see new potential for her future and learned that she can accomplish more than she gave herself credit for.

She wishes the world would have more patience with people living with brain injuries. “It’s so important to have patience when interacting with someone with a brain injury,” Laura said. “Being impatient can trigger unwanted behavior when put in stressful situations.”

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