College spotlights health care assistant training across region


Amid surging demand for health care assistants (HCAs) across the Southern Interior, Okanagan College and Interior Health are spotlighting training opportunities in February.

The College has intakes of its Health Care Assistant program starting in April at the Kelowna, Penticton and Salmon Arm campuses.

Those interested in learning more about the training and career opportunities can attend upcoming info sessions:

Kelowna campus – Feb. 12, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Room E103 (E building), 1000 KLO Rd.

Penticton campus – Feb. 18, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Room C03 (Sunoka Building), 583 Duncan Ave. West

OC’s six-month intensive program features four months of classroom instruction and two months of hands-on practicum for students to learn within the health-care environment.

“There’s never been a better time to become a health care assistant,” says Cassandra Ritchie, Health Care Assistant Recruiter, Interior Health.  “There’s strong demand for HCAs across the Interior Health region. For new graduates and experienced HCAs alike, there are lots of opportunities right now across a many different settings, whether you want to work in a long-term care environment or one-on-one with clients in home support. If you are someone who wants to get into the health care field and make a positive impact on the lives of people in our communities.”

According to WorkBC data, Health care assistants have been identified as a priority occupation for the B.C. Ministry of Health. There is expected to be more than 19,000 job openings across the province over the next decade.

“There continues to be a pressing need for health care assistants throughout our region. The HCA certification provides students with a variety of gratifying career opportunities,” says Mal Griffin, Interior Health’s Vice-President of Human Resources. “Interior Health is proud to hire Okanagan College graduates. They come out of the program well-trained and well versed to provide exceptional care across the diverse settings HCAs are needed.”

Program alumni often report that they find their career path very fulfilling, notes Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science Technology and Health for Okanagan College.

“Health care assistants find their work extremely rewarding. Graduates often tell us how much they appreciate the opportunity to have a significant impact on the quality of life for people in their care,” explains Moritz.  “For someone looking to get into the health care field, it’s a short program and one that offers graduates the chance to make a living wage right out of school, in a career that offers a variety of shifts, so there’s flexibility to mold their new work around their lives.”

More information about the program is available on the Okanagan College website.