Filipino-owned vocational college in Toronto aims to help Filipinos prepare for a career in building management

TORONTO —  Graduates of IBMA, the International Building Maintenance Academy, have a good reason to smile: a diploma after only 10 weeks in a vocational program, and access to more than a hundred property management companies.
The school’s youngest graduate took the program right after high school ,and immediately landed a job.
“I’m 17 years old and I graduated IBMA. I’m currently working as a condo building super, and I was glad that I took this program because it helped me find a better path for my future,” said Azel Amaraco.
“Someday, mag-build sya ng sarili niyang building kaya sabi ko sa kanya i-try mo lang na magsimula ka sa mababa,” said her father Nijrik Amaraco.
“Someday, he wants to build his own building so I told him, just try first to start from the bottom.”
The school’s founder Ricky Manrique, a former engineer, started his career in Canada as a building superintendent. After realizing there was no available education in this field, he created a building maintenance manual, mentored potential superintendents, and eventually established his private career college in 2015.
“We have to face the reality even if you’re a professional from back home, when you come to Canada, you go straight down because you don’t have Canadian experience. And with this program of two and a half months, it’s the fastest. So every student that enrolled, in days after they enrolled, I will put them in a job.”
The program appeals to the young and old just like these father and sons who took the course together.
“I finished my program then a couple of weeks later, I got a job.”
“In Canada, yung trade talaga yung pinaka-importante and lahat ng tinuro sa IBMA, na-a-apply namin.”
“I’m taking this opportunity because I’m preparing for my future because I’m getting old.”
IBMA hopes to accept international students by next year, and soon open up a school in the Philippines that will create a new breed of overseas Filipino workers that are building managers.
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