Thompson Rivers University

Health Care Assistant funding serves students and communities

December 2, 2014

News announcement for Health Care Assistant program

Health Care Assistant student Darci Watson addresses guests during an announcement that TRU is receiving additional one-time provincial funding for 43 new seats in the HCA program.

Today at TRU the Ministry of Advanced Education announced one-time funding for new health education spaces at seven BC post-secondary institutions. TRU received $356,000 for 43 Health Care Assistant seats, which will help students train for jobs in demand in their communities.

“We appreciate the BC government’s support for more student spaces,” said TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Alan Shaver. “At TRU it will go directly to create more seats in our Health Care Assistant Program, one tangible way for TRU to not only help create employment opportunities but to provide the much needed influx of healthcare workers our healthcare system needs.”

One-time provincial funding of $1.5 million will create an additional 188 student spaces in short-term health education programs at public colleges and universities throughout BC, including mental health and addictions and health care assistant training.

“As BC’s population ages, the demand for a wide variety of healthcare services will continue to grow. This targeted funding will help us deliver education that aligns with sector demands and also meets the healthcare needs of British Columbians,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone.

The funds were awarded after TRU answered a provincial call for proposals for one-time funding for short-term health education programs of one year or less. Graduates of the six-month Health Care Assistant (HCA) program enter the work force in residential care and assisted living facilities, as well as home support. One-time funding addresses the immediate needs of specific communities that do not have sufficient student and employer demand to support a program on a long-term ongoing basis, ensuring that students in the healthcare professions have the skills and training to serve their communities effectively.

“Thompson Rivers University and other institutions throughout BC will be able to enhance support for the delivery of front-line care to patients,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This is a good example of how government is targeting funding to support healthcare for British Columbians.”

The government has been funding short-term health education programs annually since 2008. Total funding is over $13 million, which has created 1,647 spaces. Last year, TRU was funded for an additional intake of 32 HCA seats.

In addition to funding for the HCA program, TRU also received $100,000 to support its Respiratory Therapy program from the Provincial Health Services Authority.

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