College of the Rockies Health Care Assistant students ready to provide care in Golden region

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Image shows group of students and staff in maroon scrubs, smiling at the camera
College of the Rockies’ HCA students look forward to starting their careers as Health Care Assistants. Students are pictured here along with instructors Michele Knox (second from left) and Kathy Poland (third from right, standing).

College of the Rockies’ Golden campus’ is wrapping up the semester for their largest intake of Health Care Assistant (HCA) students ever. Fourteen students have completed their final practicum and will soon be prepared to help fill the demand for HCAs in the region.

“This has been an amazing group of ladies and one gentleman,” said Karen Cathcart, Manager, College of the Rockies’ Golden campus. “Thanks to the excellent guidance provided by our instructors, Michele Knox and Kathy Poland, these students are well-prepared to enter the field.”

The HCA program is a 27-week program that prepares students to provide personal care to individuals in long-term care as well as in community settings like home support and assisted living. The program involves both in-class theory and a practicum placement in the field.

“Opportunities for Health Care Assistants in our region are vast,” said Jeff Betker, Health Service Administrator, Long Term Care, Interior Health. “Our population and our workforce are aging, meaning the demand for HCAs will continue to grow. Careers in health care are ideal for individuals who want to build a life in the East Kootenay and provide work that is both interesting and rewarding.”

According to the WorkBC website, a strong demand for care aides is contributing to higher salaries and increased employment opportunities. As the provincial government is increasing the number of long-term care beds available in BC, more employment opportunities are expected to result. WorkBC forecasts close to 900 job openings for Health Care Assistants in the Kootenay region alone. These positions will result from replacement of retiring workers as well as new job openings due to economic growth.

“Golden Life’s mission is to enable every resident to live their best life,” added Joyce Turner, East Kootenay Regional Manager, Golden Life. “Health Care Aides are a vital part of that mission. They listen and learn from our residents and families, care for and entertain them, inform them and empower them through an enriching environment. We believe and value contributions made by our highly qualified care staff that strive daily to maximize resident wellness. We always know that students from College of the Rockies are ready for the job and would like to thank the College for their ongoing dedication to excellence in the programs and training they deliver.”

The HCA program is offered yearly at the Cranbrook campus, and rotates on an annual basis to most regional campuses.

Learn more about College of the Rockies’ Health Care Assistant program.


About College of the Rockies
For more than 40 years, College of the Rockies has provided post-secondary education that meets the needs and aspirations of the people, industry and businesses of our region. Each year, we welcome more than 10,000 full-time and part-time students into a full range of programs, including: skilled trades, university studies, adult upgrading, early childhood education, health and human services, business, office administration, tourism, hospitality, recreation, fire services, continuing education and contract training. Through smaller class sizes, highly-personalized instruction and dedicated support services, our students are primed to succeed in the job market, or in the next stage of their academic journey.

Heather Jackson
Manager, Communications and Marketing
College of the Rockies