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Fanshawe PSW students to get free tuition in accelerated program

Thanks to funding from the province, Fanshawe College is joining a province-wide effort to address the shortage of personal support workers by offering an accelerated program that will cover tuition and other costs.

Program will cover up to $4K in tuition costs as a way to address shortage of PSWs

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a labour shortage when it comes to personal support workers. (Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco/CBC)

Fanshawe College students can train to become personal support workers without paying a nickel in tuition thanks to provincial funding to address a pressing and province-wide PSW shortage.

Under the accelerated six-month program, students can go from their first day of instruction to working in the field as an apprentice after three months. 

The tuition, which typically costs about $4,000, will be covered, along with other related costs such as books and uniforms. The program is funded by $115 million in provincial money announced last month to increase the number of students entering the field of long-term care. Up to 8,200 students will be trained across Fanshawe's five campuses using a mix of in-class and online learning.   

Donna Gates is the associate dean of the Simcoe-Norfolk and St. Thomas-Elgin Fanshawe campuses. 

"We have an aging population and COVID I think has shone a light on a light on the PSW shortage," she said. "Our PSW labour market partners have been experiencing a labour market shortage for a long time. The province wouldn't be putting that kind of money behind something unless there was a shortage." 

Students will also be able to get hand-on experience working at care homes early in the program. 

"They'll come in, their tuition will be paid for three months, and then they'll start earning in their second three months," said Gates. 

Students can start classes on three dates: April 5, May 10 or June 14 and can be finished the program by December. 

Gates admits students will enter a profession that's challenging, but also rewarding. 

"People who are suited to this field are amazingly talented," she said. 

Further information and registration for the program is available at Ontariocolleges.ca.

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