A special health care assistant program offered by the Okanagan College is coming to Oliver in the new year. Black Press file photo.

Health care assistant program to bring increased health care access to Oliver

The Okanagan College will run this one-time program beginning Feb. 4 for 26 weeks

Residents of Oliver will be receiving increased access to health care assistants in the new year thanks to a special program annoucement from Okanagan College.

In February 2019, the college will host a health care assistant program within Oliver due to a one-time funding grant of $89,000 from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. Residents of Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls and Keremeos will also have access to these health care professionals for the duration of the program, which will run for 26 weeks beginning Feb. 4.

Related: Wilkinson targets health care tax costs for municipalities

“The South Okanagan is desperate for health care assistants. That need exists across the province, but there is a significant demand within health-care facilities and homes in this part of the region,” said Lisa Kraft, Associate Dean of Science Technology and Health for Okanagan College.

According to WorkBC, health care assistants have been identified as a priority occupation for the B.C. Ministry of Health. Average employment growth rates in this field are forecasted at 13 per cent to 2022, with no sign of slowing down, according to a release from Okanagan College.

Related: Health care, scientific jobs top B.C. employment forecast

The release also states this “demand is anticipated to increase even more after the Government of B.C. announced funding to increase staffing levels in residential care homes for seniors, which aims to fund more than 900 health care assistants by 2021.”

Residents are invited to learn more about the health care assistant program at a information evening on Oct. 16 in the South Okanagan Secondary School, located at 6140 Gala Street, Oliver, at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in applying for this program can do so online.

For more information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca or call 250-492-4305 ext. 3203.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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