Additional Seats Added Through Government Funding
Funding for Health Care Assistant Program seats at Selkirk College’s Trail Campus will address the demand for health care professionals in the region.
The Ministry of Advanced Education announced one-time funding of $158,000 to support an additional 18 full-time students in the 26-week program. The scheduled start date for the Trail cohort is September 2017.
“Our government continues to align funding with the health care education and training needs of communities throughout the province,” says Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “This targeted funding will support more students in Trail as they train for a rewarding career as a health care professional.”
The Selkirk College Trail Campus will welcome a cohort of 18 students in the Health Care Assistant Program starting in September 2017.
Health care assistant graduates are in high demand throughout the province and play a vital role as frontline caregivers who can work in both community and facility settings. Health care assistants provide personal care that promotes and maintains the physical, psychological and social well-being of clients with a particular focus on the elderly and persons with disabilities.
“This funding is fantastic news for responding to workforce shortages in our region and for providing expanded opportunities for our students wishing to start in-demand careers,” says Selkirk College President Angus Graeme.
“The 18 extra health care assistant seats will directly support pressing workforce needs with both our public and private health care employers in a timely and very effective way. The delivery model will include flexible and innovative delivery of the curriculum as well as student practicums closer to where people live and wish to work. With near 100 per cent employment rate upon graduation this program provides entry to practice for this important regulated profession."
Demand for Trained Professionals High
The health sector is one of the fastest growing fields in British Columbia and is part of a diverse, strong and growing economy. According to the 2025 BC Labour Market Outlook, the health sector employed 227,000 workers in 2015 and employment has grown at an average rate of 3.2 per cent each year over the past decade.
“The larger number of graduates supports staffing at our practice partners in residential, acute and community care, and ultimately the ability to provide the best possible care for clients receiving services,” says Selkirk College Health Care Assistant Program instructor Sarah Lechthaler. “With more health care assistants, there is more flexibility for regular staff to take vacations as well as fill vacancies for upcoming retirements in an aging workforce. Of the current cohort preparing to graduate, almost all of the students have been offered jobs at one or more places in the region. There is never a shortage of work.”
The Provincial Government is providing more than $1 million this year in one-time funding to support an additional 133 full-time equivalent seats at 11 post-secondary institutions in BC.
Funding for health care training is one of the key ways the BC government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. Targeted health care funding builds on the immediate investments and long-term action outlined in BC’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create more than 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to the provincial GDP.