The B.C. government wants to open doors for future health-care workers.

It’s doing that by investing in post-secondary education and training designed to give more students an opportunity to train in the sector.

“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.”

This week, the government announced more than $4.4 million for health profession-related education and training at B.C. post-secondary institutions. 

This is in addition to annual funding of over $125 million for health education programs around B.C.

Programs include training for health-care assistants, anesthesia assistants, mental health and community support workers and programs for nurses.

The province says these one-time investments allow it to respond to “local and emerging needs” and are in addition to ongoing support of health-care education programs at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.

The funding is also aimed at creating opportunities for existing health professionals to further enhance their skills. 

Registered nurses and other health professionals can access short, targeted training modules through BCIT, and respiratory therapists can access one-on-one clinical refreshers.

“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.”

Among the post-secondary institutions that received additional funding to support health-related programs are:

  • North Island College
  • Camosun College
  • Coast Mountain College
  • College of New Caledonia
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
  • Okanagan College
  • Thompson Rivers University

As well, the province is adding 100 health-care assistant seats throughout B.C.