November 12, 2021 | News

Near North District School Board (NNDSB) is excited to announce the expansion of the Personal Support Worker (PSW) training opportunity and a promising partnership in the Parry Sound region. The partnership with Belvedere Heights and Lakeland Long-Term Care are welcome news in an area where PSWs are in high demand.

NNDSB will provide PSW training on site at Belvedere Heights and Lakeland Long-Term Care in a living classroom environment. Participants in the program will do their theoretical learning in a classroom at Belvedere Heights, then be able to apply those skills on the floor of both long-term care homes, without having to wait for theory work to end before experiencing placement.

NNDSB hopes to help fill a growing demand for trained PSWs across the Near North region and to provide people 18 years of age and older with an exciting career path. NNDSB will work closely with community partners to establish a hands-on program, inclusive of placements, in partnered long-term care facilities.

A female PSW stands behind an older woman sitting in a wheelchair
PSWs are often referred to as the backbone of healthcare. Halle Stringer is a recent PSW grad working at Lakeland LTC, seen here with resident Dorothy O’Rourke.

A PSW looks after the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of someone who is not able to do so themselves, frequently in the elderly population. The main responsibilities of a PSW include ensuring the patient has healthy and nutritious meals, helping with daily tasks and working with an interdisciplinary team to ensure the best quality of care.

People who do not currently possess their Grade 12 are also eligible. This unique program allows NNDSB to support students in completing their OSSD in tandem with this program. If you are interested, you can request an educational assessment by contacting Trina Nelson in student services at Parry Sound High School, 705-773-7979 extension 8438.

NNDSB Director of Education Craig Myles, who has been instrumental in seeking opportunities for the board to provide this innovative programming states, “NNDSB is thrilled to expand this opportunity to the Parry Sound region. The program contributes to an emergent and vital need for the Near North region. We are proud to offer a program that supports adults (18+) to find a rewarding career path in the health care industry and respond to a community need.”

Supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, the student costs of this specialty program will be subsidized. Successful students of this program will become fully qualified as PSWs. The PSW program can be only the beginning of a journey into many healthcare opportunities. PSWs are employed in many care sectors such as homecare and assisted living and in various care facilities.

NNDSB’s partners in this program, are “excited by this awesome opportunity,” says Belvedere Heights Home for the Aged Administrator Kami Johnson.

“Our homes in Parry Sound are incredibly fortunate to work with a partner like our local high school,” says Steve White, administrator of Lakeland Long-Term Care. “Kami and I believe the Near North District School Board is not only going to make a difference in the lives of adults learning a new career, but in the daily lives of our seniors and most vulnerable.”

NNDSB is in the process of hiring qualified instructors for North Bay and Parry Sound. Instructors will be RNs or NPs with experience working in this field. Please refer to www.nearnorthschools.ca and select Join Our Team in the top right corner for employment information. NNDSB is excited by the expansion and still aiming for the new year to begin both programs. Registration is planned for January with an expected start of February 2022.

Spaces are limited. Anyone interested should plan to attend one of the two following information sessions: Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. online or Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. online. (Meetings are hyperlinked.)

NNDSB Chair Jay Aspin says, “The partnership in Parry Sound and the expansion of this programming is exactly what we aimed for. The alignment with the Board goals of excellence in innovation and excellence in building relationships is clear. We are eager to work in partnership with Belvedere Heights and Lakeland Long-Term Care on a sustainable pipeline of PSW students choosing highly rewarding programming in Northern communities.”

NNDSB is seeking partnerships with local long-term care homes in all regions of the board to re-engage learners who are 18+ interested in training to become a PSW. Any long-term care home interested in partnering should contact Liana Blaskievich, NNDSB’s Officer Corporate Affairs at 705-472-8170 ext. 5056 or liana.blaskievich@nearnorthschools.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Deb Bartlett
Communications Officer
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170, extension 5010
E. Deb.Bartlett@nearnorthschools.ca