A government sponsored refugee living in Nanaimo says he and his family have been given a second chance at life.

With a roof over their head and a safe place to call home Anas Ayash’s new life is in stark contrast to what life once was like in Syria.

“Everyone has one dream, at night it’s a dream, can I wake up in the morning,” Ayash said.

The man’s family, sponsored by the federal government, settled in Canada in January.

He has been brushing up on his English hoping to soon enter the workforce.

“I want to work,”Ayash stated.

Staff at Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society say they are willing to help.

“Once they feel comfortable in their English skills then they have access to employment councillors here, employment programs,” settlement manager, Samantha Letourneau, said.

In Syria, Ayash worked as a registered nurse, but he fears his accreditation may not be recognized in British Columbia.

“This makes me nervous and stressed,” Ayash said.

The CRNBC claims each applicant is assessed on the same criteria, which includes education, work experience, language proficiency and safety.

The college is undergoing a pilot project to assess the competence of nurses from other countries.

“Getting them into the workplace more quickly in the nursing position they are most qualified for,” Cynthia Johansen with the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. said.

Should Ayash have to return to school, Vancouver Island University has a new award of up to $5,000 to help alleviate the stresses of tuition on refugees.

“This is for them taking the next step into a program that will lead to other re-training or training for a new career,” the university’s international project coordinator, Darrell Harvey, said.

As the funding from his family’s sponsorship is about to run dry, Ayash is hopeful he will soon qualify to work in B.C.

“I want to work to support my family,” he said.