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Mature Student Award helps with career advancement for recipient

Pilyk aiming for supervisory position at Cowichan District Hospital
Elana Pilyk is the Chemainus Health Care Foundation’s Mature Student Award recipient for 2021. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Elana Pilyk and many others just like her don’t hesitate anymore to take further studies to advance their careers.

Age is no longer considered an impediment for older students as it once was in the past.

Pilyk, 44, received a boost to paying course costs as the recipient of the Chemainus Health Care Foundation’s Mature Student Award of $1,500.

Related story: Mature student award a boost for those returning to studies in anticipation of a career change

“The Chemainus Health Care Foundation created the Mature Student Award to encourage people to pursue a career in the field of human health,” reads a statement from the education award committee. “One award is offered each year and the next applications will be solicited in the late spring of 2022. Elana, a Chemainus resident, deservedly received the 2021 award as she is engaged in the Nutrition and Food Service Management Diploma program at Langara College.

“Skill development and advanced education is critical to the recruitment and retention of health care workers and through the Mature Student Award the Foundation is responding to this urgent need. The field of study chosen by Elana offers personal development and a solid career path while directly supporting the current and future staffing needs of our health care system.”

“It’s really amazing,” Pilyk said of the award. “It’s really appreciated.

“School’s expensive and I have to pay for it myself. It’s nice of them to do it, for sure.”

Pilyk (nee Scholefield) graduated from Chemainus Secondary School in 1995. She’s been married to her husband Jeff for 22 years and the couple has two children currently in the school, son Braden in Grade 11 and daughter Carolyn in Grade 9.

After graduation, Elana worked at the Best Western Cowichan Valley Inn for 20 years. She was everything from a dishwasher to a line cook.

“I did all of the jobs there,” she said. “It was a lot of fun, a great group of people.”

Pilyk had some shorter stays in food services after that at the Sawmill Taphouse & Grill and the Mount Brenton Golf Course in Chemainus before getting called to work at the Cowichan District Hospital where she’s been the last five years.

“I do pretty much all the jobs there, too, wash dishes, serve meals, make sandwiches, salads,” she said. “It comes naturally.”

The time came when she decided to embark on the two-year Langara program on-line.

“I’m doing the nutrition and food services management program to become a supervisor at the hospital,” she explained.

She’s just completing the first year and feels it’s going well but the assignments are quite difficult.

“A lot of it I know,” Pilyk indicated. “It’s just a little more structured, I guess you would say.”

She’ll be finished the program at the end of next year but has no intention of going anywhere else for employment.

“The supervisor job is more a manager role than physical,” Pilyk explained. “I think I’ll just hang out at the hospital.”

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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