The demand for health care assistants in the West Kootenay-Boundary is growing and Selkirk College is taking action to help fill the gaps by providing an additional cohort of its health care assistant program out of Kaslo.

Health care assistant program coming to Kaslo

One of Selkirk College’s most popular programs is extending its reach into smaller West Kootenay communities.

One of Selkirk College’s most popular programs is extending its reach into smaller West Kootenay communities in an effort to help fill in-demand jobs in regional health care.

The health care assistant program puts graduates on the frontlines of health care assisting clients with personal care, nutrition and mobility.

Based out of the Selkirk College Trail campus, the program has an employment rate for students of more than 95 per cent. Starting in January, an additional cohort will be offered out of the college’s Kaslo Learning Centre.

“We have been hearing from health care providers in the north end of our region that this program is sought after by residents of Kaslo, New Denver and Nakusp,” says Rhys Andrews, dean of instruction for Selkirk College’s health and human Services. “In order to provide better access to those who desire to enter the sector, we are offering this special cohort.”

The health care assistant program is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively as frontline care providers and to be a respected member of the health care team in both community and facility settings.

Under the direction and supervision of a health professional, graduates provide person-centred care aimed at promoting and maintaining the physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being of clients/residents.

In the 26-week program, Selkirk College offers the provincial curriculum in a blend of face-to-face and online delivery of theory content. The certificate program is comprised of 16 weeks of theory and 10 weeks of practical experience.

“This program meets local needs with on-time training,” says Andrews. “The program also opens the door to other pathways for further education in health sciences and to local and regional employment opportunities.”

Over the last few years, students from all corners of the region have taken the program. With an increased demand for graduates from health care providers in the north end of the Selkirk College region, offering an extra cohort of the program will help fill a gap in both public and private facilities.

“Bringing this program to the Kaslo region will provide more access to those who are simply not able to travel great distances to attend class,” says Dawn Lang, Selkirk College’s community education and workplace training coordinator in Kaslo. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the individuals in our region to embark on career that has great potential.”

The Kaslo-based health care assistant program cohort will run from Jan. 4 to June 30, 2016. There are opportunities for academic upgrading to meet the requirements for entry and potential training subsidies for Columbia Basin residents.

Find out more about the health care assistant program at


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