The Sechelt Hospital Foundation is going to be reimbursing the cost of tuition and other fees for students in Capilano University’s 2020-21 Heath Care Assistant class, in exchange for a commitment to work at least a year in home support on the Sunshine Coast.
Hospital Foundation executive director Jane Macdonald said the decision to offer financial support for students in the program was a direct response to a need identified by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) for more workers to help with the 469 home support services clients on the Coast.
“We wanted to really support that team because there’s a lot of pressure on them right now as folks prefer to get their care closer to home or literally in their home,” Macdonald said.
The cost of tuition, books and fees for students in the Health Care Assistant program is about $5,400, which puts the value of the Hospital Foundation’s funding at more than $100,000.
“We saw that as a very good use of our donors’ dollars,” Macdonald said. “Often donors will give us money and say put it to the area of greatest need, and we were absolutely convinced this is an area of great need.”
Capilano University officials said as far as they’re aware this is the first time a hospital foundation in B.C. has offered this type of support to students.
“This financial support represents a substantial gift to residents of the Sunshine Coast who wish to upgrade their education and find a new avenue to employment,” Cap-U program coordinator Joshua Boyd said in a letter to Coast Reporter. “These students will graduate and fill a drastic and ever-increasing need for health care assistants on the Sunshine Coast.”
Boyd also told Coast Reporter that while a typical class cohort is 20 students, they don’t always get that many and there are still a handful of spots available for the 2020-21 intake.
The students being supported by the foundation will pay their tuition up front and then be reimbursed through VCH, with funding from the foundation, once they successfully complete their program.
For its part, VCH is guaranteeing the students 18 months employment as home care workers on the Sunshine Coast and they’ll be required to complete 12 months work with VCH home support services to receive their tuition reimbursement.