Investing in future front line health care workers

November 8, 2022

Investing in future front line health care workers

The Government of Alberta’s recent investment in funding health care aide training means NorQuest College can bolster what it already does so well: train the next generation of frontline health care workers in Alberta.

Health Care Aides (HCAs) play a vitally important role across Alberta. They provide direct care and personal assistance to patients who are ill, elderly, or disabled. Everything from help with dressing, bathing, exercise, and more are all in a day’s work for an HCA.

On September 27, the Government of Alberta announced a $12.8 million investment to create new bursaries to assist students with education costs and encourage them to become Health Care Aides. The HCA Education Funding program includes three streams of funding: the Financial Incentive program, the HCA Tuition Bursary program, and the Workplace Tutor program.

Students who were enrolled in a licensed HCA program between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2022, are eligible for up to $4,000 through the Financial Incentive program, and may receive up to $9,000 through the HCA Tuition Bursary program. The Workplace Tutor program provides funding for identified continuing care operators to educate HCAs at their workplace. Students may work as HCAs as they complete the program.

Chances are that you or a family member have already encountered an HCA and benefitted from the outstanding work they do. Across Alberta, HCAs provide direct patient care, providing basic health services and assistance with daily living to people with medical conditions or major functional limitations. They are the single largest workforce in continuing care.

“Health care aides perform a vital function at the front lines delivering the services Albertans count on,” says Jennifer Mah, Dean, Faculty of Health Studies. “This robust investment will open up opportunities for students exploring new careers as health care aides. NorQuest is eager to continue meeting the need for health care professionals through this exciting partnership between the province’s post-secondary and health care systems.”

For Arlene Asuncion, a recent HCA graduate, the GOA funding made a big difference to her goal of pursuing a career in health care.

“My journey wasn’t easy,” says Asuncion. “I got stressed about juggling my family and my studies. But my awesome NorQuest family was always there for me. I graduated from the HCA program in May and am currently working for Westlock Home Care, providing care to patients who are aging in place at their homes. The bursary program was such a big help to support me!”

NorQuest’s Health Care Aide program is among the largest in Canada and prepares learners to be a part of a health care team in a variety of different settings, providing a high level of front-line care to clients in need of assistance.