A life-changing volunteer opportunity led Saskatchewan’s Josh Windsor to the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) and its online Bachelor of Emergency & Security Management Studies (BESMS) program.
Josh was a computer drafting student looking to volunteer in his home community of Regina a few years ago when he signed up with the Canadian Red Cross to help people in both small disasters and large-scale evacuations. “In the summer of 2019, I was asked to go on my first [Emergency Response Team] deployment. I was deployed to Cochran, Ontario to support a wildfire evacuation of Pikangikum First Nation. Being able to make a difference on a larger scale was very rewarding,” said Josh.
It was in the middle of his deployment he decided that emergency management would be a more fulfilling career path, and started researching available programs. He landed on JIBC’s flexible online emergency management diploma and degree programs. “I applied to JIBC from my hotel room because the online model would allow me to continue with the Canadian Red Cross while I received my education.”
Because the JIBC program is entirely online it allowed me to continue to gain practical experience ... while I complete my degree
Since starting the BESMS program in the fall of 2019, Josh has continued to take on new roles with the Canadian Red Cross, including both part-time and full-time paid work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was hired to provide support to a quarantine site in Regina for returning international travelers. He helped oversee the creation of emergency kits, everything needed to set up emergency shelters, to send to Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. And in November, he was deployed to Winnipeg as a support aide at long-term care (LTC) facilities experiencing major outbreaks.
“I would not have the opportunity to go to Winnipeg to support the LTC facilities right now if I had to attend classes and write finals in person,” he said. “Because the JIBC program is entirely online it allowed me to continue to gain practical experience with the Canadian Red Cross while I complete my degree.”
Josh discovered his passion for helping people while supporting strangers through some of the most difficult times in their lives and is eager to gain a formal education and training as he pursues a career in emergency management.
“The flexibility [of JIBC’s BESMS program] also allows people to support themselves while they learn, learn at their own pace, and learn from wherever they want so they do not have to leave their current home and support system,” he said.
“I really enjoy helping people and emergency management has given me a career path that lets me do this … For me, just knowing that I’m having any positive impact is enough.”
For more information on JIBC's Bachelor of Emergency & Security Management Studies program, visit jibc.ca/BESMS.