Funding for additional health-care assistant seats at Selkirk College in Trail will address the demand for health-care professionals in the region.
One-time funding of $158,000 from the Ministry of Advanced Education will support an additional 18 full-time equivalent (FTE) seats in the 26-week program at the Trail campus. The scheduled start date for the program is September 2017.
“Our government continues to align funding with the health-care education and training needs of communities throughout the province,” said 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.”
Health-care assistant graduates are in high demand throughout the province and play an important role as front-line 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,” said 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.”
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 B.C. Labour Market Outlook, the health sector employed 227,000 workers in 2015 and employment has grown at an average rate of 3.2% 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,” said Selkirk College health-care assistant 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.”
Government is providing more than $1 million this year in one-time funding to support an additional 133 FTE seats at 11 post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
Since 2008, the Province has provided annual one-time funding for additional education seats in health programs. Funding to date totals more than $16 million and has created almost 2,000 FTE seats.
Funding for health-care training is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. Targeted health-care funding builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.
B.C. Rural Economic Development Strategy: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/b-c-s-rural-economic-development-strategy/
2025 B.C. Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/getmedia/00de3b15-0551-4f70-9e6b-23ffb6c9cb86/LabourMarketOutlook.aspx
Selkirk College: http://www.selkirk.ca/