Cambrian College to offer accelerated PSW training with help of provincial initiative

Cambrian College in Sudbury is using provincial money to help train more personal support workers. Last week, the government announced $115 million for all 24 colleges to be able to provide accelerated training for PSWs. It's meant to address the critical shortage of workers within that health care profession.

Students to have tuition, books, and other fees paid for; with graduation within 6 months

Cambrian College will be offering accelerated training for its personal support worker program, where the course is condensed into six months instead of 14 months. Provincial funding will pay for the students' tuition, books and other fees. (Supplied by Cambrian College)

Cambrian College in Sudbury expects to graduate 120 new personal support workers (PSWs) by the end of 2021.

Last week, the government announced $115-million for all 24 colleges in Ontario to offer accelerated training for PSWs.

It's meant to address the critical shortage of workers within the healthcare profession.

"We have committed to the province that we would have 40 students in each of three intakes," said Paula Gouveia, vice president academic at Cambrian College.

The post secondary school's accelerated PSW training courses will begin April 5, May 10 and June 14.

The course is condensed into 12 weeks of in-class learning (virtual and on site labs) and a 12 week paid internship.

The government funding will pay for most of the costs students would normally incur.

"It will be on a per learner basis," Gouveia said.

"We do know that it involves tuition, and ancillary fees, learners' support and a paid placement," she added.

"Those are the pieces that will help it to make it more affordable and hopefully accessible to lots of different individuals in our community."

New career after job loss?

Gouveia suggests this could be a chance to start fresh for those who lost their jobs in other sectors, because of the pandemic.

"This may be an opportunity for those individuals to find really great ways, in a caring profession, to help make a difference; and it's affordable because of all of the supports that are being provided by the government."

The shortage of PSWs across Ontario was well documented prior to the pandemic.

"What the pandemic has shown is that we need to take action as a society," Gouveia said.

She says Cambrian and the other colleges across Ontario can help play a role in helping find solutions to the shortage within the health care sector.

"This is one step towards trying to address what has been a critical issue in care settings."

The provincial funding is only for accelerated PSW training, and is only for the 2021 year.

Gouveia says Cambrian will still continue to offer the full term (8 month) PSW course.

"We will continue to have intakes for PSW as long as that is a program area of need in our community."

With files from Angela Gemmill


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