There is a need for healthcare aids across the province

The healthcare assistant program is coming to Golden, training students for a variety of entry level healthcare careers.

The program will be offered at the Golden campus of College of the Rockies, and only requires that applying students have completed Grade 10 English and math.

There is a large need for healthcare assistance across the province, explained Deborah Austin, adding that students can go into either home support or residential facilities after completing the course.

“You can work in two completely different settings,” she said. “The nice thing about it is all across the province, there’s a desperate need. Getting this kind of career doesn’t limit you to where you can work.”

After graduating from the course, which includes labs and a practicum, students can choose whether they would like to work one on one in people’s homes, or if they would like to work in a group setting in residential facilities.

“What I find is some people I talk to really like the independence of a home support network. Other people really like the residential environment where there’s activities going on,” explained Austin. “The good thing is you can work in either or both.”

In the past, the college has had difficulty filling the class, which is why it hasn’t been offered in its full capacity before, but Austin explained that there really is a demand for healthcare assistants all across the province.

“It’s certainly an area we need trained staff in,” said Golden campus manager Karen Cathcart. “We need health care aids, as the baby boomers are getting older, the need is there.”

Austin is hopeful that with the high demand across B.C. that the course will fill up.

“I think it speaks to the great need that there’s a lot of energy going into making sure these classes go ahead,” she said, adding that Invermere hosts classes like these every year and there is a wait list to get in.

One of the nice things about the healthcare assistance program is it allows people to obtain an entry level healthcare job, where they can move forward and decide if they want to specialize in another healthcare career like nursing, she explained.

“It gives people a chance to say ‘I really love this work,’ and it’s a good ladder into healthcare, which really in my opinion, is one of the more stable industries,” Austin said.

To apply for the course, go to www.cotr.bc.ca/golden and look up the course.

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