College of the Rockies Offering Health Care Assistant Program in Invermere, Fernie

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Image of an activity assistant doing puzzle with elderly resident.
Health Care Assistants are in demand in the East Kootenay region and throughout the province.

College of the Rockies is offering the Health Care Assistant program at both the Invermere and Fernie campuses for Fall 2018, thanks to $258,000 in one-time funding contributions from the ministries of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

The province allocated $128,000 for 16 full-time equivalent (FTEs) seats at the Invermere campus and a further $130,000 to support 16 FTEs in Fernie.

“Health-care assistants are an important part of the health-care system,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “By supporting the development of more health-care assistants, we are equipping caring professionals with the tools they need to thrive in a growing and rewarding career while helping people in the community access the care they need.”

The ministries of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training are providing approximately $3.3 million in overall funding to increase health-care assistant training seats by December 2019.

“Health-care assistants make a difference in the people they care for every day,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This funding will make it possible for more people to get the training they need to become health-care assistants, so we can increase staffing and provide seniors with the level of care they deserve.”

Health Care Assistant (HCA) is a 27-week program that provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to provide personal care to individuals in residential 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.

“This opportunity to offer the Health Care Assistant program in both Invermere and Fernie could not have come at a better time,” says College President and CEO, David Walls. “With our aging population, there is a high demand for trained Health Care Assistants in our region. Our graduates will be prepared with the skills and knowledge they require to help to meet that need.”

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.

The HCA program is also offered yearly at the Cranbrook campus and at most regional campuses on a rotational basis, this year at the Golden campus.

Applications for the Health Care Assistant program are now being accepted. Learn more.