Health care assisting program adds seats through increased provincial funding
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
In celebration of Health Care Assistant Day in British Columbia, the province announced an injection of funds to train health care assistants and other aid workers across the province.
The province, through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, committed $3.64 million dollars over the next two years to train workers to support the elderly—which includes care aids and community health workers.
The increase funding is meant to support and maintain a high quality of life for the growing number of adults over 65 years old in the population—which is expected to make up 23 percent of Canadians (or over 9.5 million seniors) by the year 2030. Also, the infusion of funds underlies the province’s commitment to seniors.
“Health care assistants are making a real difference for the people they care for [and] by providing more training spaces for people wishing to become a health care assistants, we are taking an important step to ensure that caregivers are there for the British Columbians who need them,” said Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors and Multiculturalism.
According to the press release, found on the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training website, the flux of funding (estimated to be $200,000 for Douglas), will create 16 extra health care assisting seats in the Health Care Assisting program at the college.
The certificate program, which is offered on the Coquitlam campus through the Faculty of Health Sciences, is a two-semester program that trains students to provide “[…]holistic care to promote the physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being for people with diverse health needs,” according to the program website.
After graduation, students are eligible to register with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry or complete an additional semester of training to receive a Community Mental Health Worker Certificate. According to the Registry website, there are approximately 35,000 Health Care Assistants (HCA) registered and in good standing with the province, and the average annual salary for a full-time HCA is $68,000 or $34.98 per hour.
Additionally, the BC Labour Market Outlook: 2018 Edition estimates that there will be 148,400 Health Care and Social Assistance job openings in the province over the next decade—in parallel with the growing number of older adults.
Three other Lower Mainland schools: Langara College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Vancouver Community College, received the same provincial funding—with a total of 92 new spots opening for prospective students.