Thanks to funding from the Province of Ontario, Confederation College is expanding its Personal Support Worker (PSW) program offerings this spring and summer. The new PSW Accelerated program will enable learners to complete the program in just six months with no tuition fee, alongside funding support for expenses such as textbooks, and a paid work placement.
“This new Personal Support Worker Accelerated program adds an important pathway for students to gain the skills and experience they need to successfully pursue this critical career,” said Shane Strickland, Dean, School of Health, Negahneewin and Community Services. “There is considerable demand for trained PSWs in the northwestern Ontario region and beyond. This opportunity not only creates additional PSW seats for prospective students, it also reduces barriers to the program by offering the financial support components.”
Confederation College will be offering intakes of the PSW Accelerated program starting on May 10 and June 14 across its nine campuses in northwestern Ontario. Applications are being accepted now with seats awarded to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. The government funding also extends, in part, to students who began the PSW program in the College’s winter semester. Those students may be eligible for a $2,000 scholarship and a paid work placement.
“We are so pleased to be able to offer this program to all of our regional communities,” said Anne Renaud, Dean, School of Access and Success. “This program addition will further leverage our strong relationships with long-term care and other partners across northwestern Ontario, while also serving to fill the growing gap in skilled PSWs they are challenged with. We are grateful to the province for supporting this initiative.”
Rebecca Lowey graduated in 2019 from the compressed PSW program at Confederation’s Rainy River District Campus in Fort Frances. She admits that the compressed experience was very busy and a little stressful, but pointed to the incredible support she received as the key to managing her studies. “We as classmates all worked together and helped each other out, and we had a very good support system with our teachers,” she said. “It was a really great experience at the College and my hard work paid off as I was able to secure a job right after graduation.”
Lowey joined the PSW team at Rainycrest Long Term Care in her home community of Fort Frances and has enjoyed every moment. “Being a PSW is a great career choice,” she said. “People are always going to need help and it’s a very fulfilling and rewarding feeling to be the one giving them that help. I really truly love what I do.”
Alumna Sarah Pecore also graduated in 2019, in her case, from Thunder Bay in the College’s full-length PSW program. She encourages anyone with compassion and a willingness to help to consider it. “I really enjoyed my time in the program, from the clinical experiences and placements to the lab time,” she said. “Aside from gaining the functional skills I needed to become an effective PSW, the program also taught me a lot of life skills that I can apply anywhere. I learned to communicate really well with other people and the program taught me compassion and selflessness.”
Pecore quickly joined the workforce as a PSW for Southbridge Pinewood Court. “I definitely enjoy working with the elderly to take care of them and build relationships with them,” she said. “You grow to love them and become a welcomed guest in their home. It’s really special.” Pecore also highlighted that the PSW career can be a pathway to other careers in health care. “It can be a foot in the door to a lot of places that you may want to work. It’s helped me take the next step in my career to become a nurse.” She is currently enrolled in Confederation College’s Practical Nursing program.
Confederation College’s standard PSW program offerings include fall and winter intakes for its full-length PSW program and a part-time intake. For more information about the Personal Support Worker program at Confederation College, visit www.confederationcollege.ca/PSW. To apply to the government-funded PSW Accelerated program commencing this spring, visit www.ontariocolleges.ca/PSW, selecting the “compressed” option for any of Confederation College’s campuses.
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