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Fanshawe in Simcoe will co-ordinate regional program for long-term care workers

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Part of the Ontario government’s plan to improve conditions in long-term care homes includes improving the skill set of those working in the hospitality end of seniors living.

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Representatives of long-term care homes in Ontario have identified a shortage of skilled workers in this area.

To address the shortfall, Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, has announced that $818,000 will be spent to produce 50 new graduates in this area in south-central Ontario.

Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett and Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma made the announcement in Simcoe on McNaughton’s behalf at the James N. Allan campus of Fanshawe College, which will administer the program on the ministry’s behalf.

“We are so appreciative of this investment from the province to fill the skill shortage in this profession,” Krista Zilkey, manager of continuing education and training services with Fanshawe in Simcoe. “This is going to very much be an employer-driven program.”

Zilkey and Fanshawe are co-ordinating the program in partnership with the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA). The program will feature training in hard skills such as food and beverage preparation and training in soft skills such as interpersonal relations, the importance of reliability and punctuality, and the importance of being a team player in a fast-paced team environment.

For his part, Barrett gave a shout-out to personal service workers and others who have devoted their careers to the care of the elderly and infirm, especially during this difficult time of COVID-19. In Ontario and elsewhere, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll in some long-term homes among the vulnerable elderly, also putting those who tend to them at risk.

“I could never do that job myself,” Barrett told Bouma. “We have an easy job by comparison.”

For his part, Bouma said the funding was about “making career dreams come true.”

“Hats off to Fanshawe for coming to the table and making this happen,” he said.

Fanshawe will co-ordinate the program in collaboration with other community colleges in south-central Ontario, including the Brantford and Hamilton area.

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