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Henry Devlin, chief operating officer at Willis, argued the program now rolling out gives the province good value for its money, in part because students taking part are not eligible for any other student assistance from the province.
“Students have had to come forward and say, ‘I can support myself (while taking this program),’ which I think saves thousands of dollars.”
Devlin said the program came about at the initiative of Willis.
“When the ministry announced that it was going to increase the number of hours of care (in long-term care homes), we thought: There is an opportunity here.”
Willis put together a proposal that Devlin says is unique. It involves online PSW training and weekly on-site volunteering that runs over a seven-day model, to mimic shifts in care homes.
Other programs offer on-site training as part of the PSW course. Ottawa’s Algonquin College has a classroom for PSW training inside the region’s largest long-term care home, The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre.
The province, which had not sent out a general call for PSW training programs, gave the Willis proposal the green light.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to bring personal support workers online quickly into the long-term care sector,” said Ministry of Long-Term Care spokeswoman Krystle Caputo.
She said the success of the program will be gauged on attrition rates of students during training and retention one year after graduation. The province will also look at the number of homes participating in the pilot and the number of graduates who end up working at homes they volunteered in during the program.
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