Two dozen students from Waywayseecappo First Nation are entering the final phase of their training to be health care aides, while continuing to live in their home community.
As of early April, they will have completed the academic portion of the Indigenous Comprehensive Health Care Aide (CHCA) certificate program. The following week, they will begin a four-week practicum in health care facilities that are operated by Prairie Mountain Health (PMH). They completed a previous four-week practicum in January and early February.
Assiniboine Community College has been delivering the program in Waywayseecappo, in partnership with the First Nation’s Education Department, since September of last year.
“I'm very grateful to Assiniboine Community College for bringing this course into our community. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to further my education,” said Niki Sprenkle, a 39-year-old adult student from Waywayseecappo and the mother of eight children from the ages of 5 to 20.
Delivering the program in the students’ home community greatly increases the likelihood of academic success, Waywayseecappo Chief Murray Clearsky said.
The CHCA certificate program is responsive to high labour market demand throughout rural Manitoba, including First Nations communities served by PMH. Graduates of this program will be prepared to start their careers throughout Manitoba.
Penny Gilson, PMH chief executive officer said supporting educational opportunities within or close to the region has been a successful strategy in increasing and retaining the number of health care professionals in the region.
“We’ve been very active in supporting practicum experiences for students. PMH will work with Assiniboine Community College to accommodate practicum placements for the students who will be enrolled in this training initiative. Practicum placements can occur in many sites in the region, and we will accommodate students as close to the education site as possible,” Gilson said.
A complete version of this article is available on the ACC website.
Niki Sprenkle, a student in the Indigenous Comprehensive Health Care Aide Certificate program.