Students in British Columbia’s Interior will have more opportunities to train for careers in health care or upgrade their skills, thanks to additional funding for post-secondary education and training for health professionals.
“For years, British Columbians have been calling for more trained health professionals in their communities,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We heard that call to action and we’re investing in valuable, in-demand training in every corner of the province so that students preparing for careers in health care, or health professionals upgrading their skills, are able to provide quality health care when and where it is needed. It is because of the work of these unsung heroes in health care that we are at a place to safely build back the best B.C.”
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology received $500,000 for two programs: an Indigenous-focused health-care assistant program and another that will allow health-care assistants who are mid-career to pursue a practical nursing diploma. At Okanagan College, $150,000 will fund development and piloting of an orthopedics post-diploma program for licenced practical nurses.
Thompson Rivers University received $395,000 to provide clinical refreshers and fast-track training for respiratory therapists who may care for critically ill patients. An additional $800,000 will fund cohort-based anesthesia assistant training and enhance a program for licenced practical nurses who wish to further their education with a bachelor of science in nursing.
“We are committed to training, recruiting and hiring a new generation of health-care professionals at all levels, including respiratory therapists and critical care nurses, who are vital members of the health-care team,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Respiratory therapists and nurses working with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic have a high-risk role because of their hands-on work treating patients with breathing difficulties and I thank them for all they do.”
The Province is investing more than $4.4 million for a variety of health profession-related education and training at B.C. post-secondary institutions this year. Programs include training for health-care assistants, anesthesia assistants, mental health and community support workers and programs for nurses.
Other B.C. post-secondary institutions that also received extra funding to support health-related programs include:
- British Columbia Institute of Technology
- Camosun College
- Coast Mountain College
- College of New Caledonia
- North Island College
- Vancouver Community College
Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston –
“This announcement means more training opportunities for health-care professionals closer to home. This, along with the news of 495 new long-term care beds for the Interior, is great news for patients, health-care providers and our communities.”
Ken Tourand, president, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) –
“In these challenging and unprecedented times, NVIT appreciates the opportunity to deliver health-related programs that will train our students to safely provide relevant and quality care to the youth, families and Elders within Indigenous communities. As B.C.’s Indigenous public post-secondary institute, NVIT empowers learners by strengthening voice and identity through education. The education and training of health-care workers within an Indigenous institution assists B.C.’s health-care system to operate from a culturally safe and relevant perspective in a manner free from systemic racism.”
Jim Hamilton, president, Okanagan College –
“Okanagan College has been educating front-line health-care professionals for more than 55 years. We are very appreciative of this support from the province as it will allow us to continue to innovate, to enhance access and provide students with the highest quality education and training. We remain steadfastly committed to doing our part to help close the skills gap and meet the demand for skilled health-care professionals in our region and across B.C.”
Brett Fairbairn, president, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) –
“TRU is pleased to partner with the province to provide these additional training opportunities. Our graduates go on to work in various health settings, from care homes to hospitals, and we are extremely proud of the resilience they have shown during this pandemic.”
A backgrounder follows.