More students will be offered the chance to pursue a career in health care thanks to one-time targeted funding for the introduction to health practices program at Northwest Community College.
The Ministry of Advanced Education is providing $40,000 to support nine additional full-time equivalent (FTE) seats (36 students) in the program, which is offered in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Smithers. The program provides students with an overview of health careers while offering direct experience with health-care professionals including hands-on lab work. The program began in February 2017.
“Our government recognizes that offering training close to home means that community health workers will be ready to provide quality care and support in their local communities,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “This funding will ensure that students have access to education and training to help them find fulfilling careers.”
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.
“At Northwest Community College we are always looking at innovative new pathways for students to pursue their academic interests,” said Northwest Community College president Ken Burt. “This program means students will have the opportunity to get a solid understanding of the many options open to them for careers in the health sector.”
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
Northwest Community College: https://www.nwcc.bc.ca/