North Island College (NIC) is expanding its health care training.

NIC is among the 14 post-secondary schools across B.C. getting funding from the province for 418 new health care assistant seats.

The province, through ministries of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training, is providing $3.64 million over the next two years to create the seats. 

Health care assistants are also known as care aides, community health workers and other titles.

Three NIC campuses on the north and central island are getting funding. They include:

  • Campbell River – $147,000 for 20 seats,
  • – Comox Valley – $132,000 for 20 seats, and
  • the Port Hardy Mixalakwila campus – $66,000 for 20 seats.

There are 17 publicly funded post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. that offer health care assistant training. 

Training programs are from six to 10 months long. 

The first of the new seats became available to post-secondary institutions in September 2019.

There are about 25,500 health-care assistants employed by health authorities and affiliated employers in B.C. 

Health care assistants provide personal support services for people living with disabilities and those living with acute or chronic illnesses, including seniors.

They work in a variety of settings, including long-term care homes, acute care, home support and assisted living.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said in long-term care, in the community and in acute care, we need more health care assistants. 

“Ask anyone in need of care and you will hear stories of the value of the work of care aides and community health workers,” Dix added. 

“This investment to train more health care assistants will help us meet our government’s goal of improving care standards and expanding options for seniors. It will help people get trained for some of the most important and in-demand jobs in our province, making sure British Columbians get the quality care they need and deserve. Four hundred and eighteen new seats in 14 post-secondary institutions will make a big difference.”

Nineteen percent of B.C.’s population is 65 or over. 

In 15 years, this percentage is expected to rise to 25 percent.