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Health Career Access Program: Students mentored by experienced staff, welcomed to VCH

18/10/2022 from school or training is a major milestone for any student. It is a time of change, moving forward and, for many, a search for a job. Our popular Health Career Access Program (HCAP) is designed to help students through this process by getting paid to learn and having a job waiting as soon as training is complete. 

Offered online and in-person, the 100 per cent paid education and training includes hands-on experience in both home support and long-term care and a job with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). Since the program began in September 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 180 students have graduated and are already working as health care aides across our communities of care.

In September, we celebrated another cohort of student graduates at the first regional in-person graduation.

During her welcome speech at the ceremony, JoAnn Tait, Executive Director, Regional Long-term Care, Assisted Living and Supported Housing, expressed to the cohort that, “Being the first doesn't come without its challenges – you were the first ones to work with teams who had little to no idea what a health care support worker was. Many of you worked during outbreaks and during COVID-19 activity, another first for our sector, and you persevered. You were driven by your compassion and deep caring of others and you made it through one of the toughest times working in health care."

Home Support Regional Lead Robert Gill also welcomed the group said, “Our HCAP graduates will help fulfill an important part of our home and community care services by ensuring our seniors get the care they need in their home. These graduates will join an existing workforce of community health workers whom provide thousands of hours of care every day.

Joining our team

One new graduate shares that working in health care is something she has always wanted to do. When Alexis June Paul (pictured below, top) heard that she can get paid to train and have a job as a care aide with VCH post-graduation, Alexis knew she was about to jumpstart her career.Alexis

"I believe this is a good way to get into the medical field while helping my community," says Alexis, who lives and now works at Totem Lodge in Sechelt. "The first time I shadowed a care aide getting clients up for the morning was amazing. Watching how compassionate they are is inspiring."

Amanda White, a recent graduate,  (pictured below, bottom) says taking care of her terminally ill mother was one of the most meaningful times in her life and led her to want to work in health care.

HCAP Alexis.jpg

As an entry-level opportunity, Alexis felt supported and encouraged to take in as much learning wherever possible. What stands out to her most was how experienced care aides approached her and asked her if she wanted to watch how to do things like a catheter or wound change.

This appreciation for mentoring and guidance is echoed by Amanda who says, “I felt exceptionally well supported in my HCAP program and now as a casual worker at Richmond Home Support. Program administrators have been so good to us. They have helped me to feel part of the health care community." Amanda

Both Alexis and Amanda enjoy spending time with residents, learning about their lives and interacting with residents and colleagues –bringing a spark and connection to the day for everyone.

Consider referring your family and friends to join the VCH team and enroll in our HCAP program

SOURCE: Health Career Access Program: Students mentored by experienced staff, welcomed to VCH ( )
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