Oxford International Education Group (OIEG) is preparing international social care students to become workplace ready, through its Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) Programme as part of its ongoing partnership with the East Coast International College (ECIC), in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
This is in response to an overall shortage of qualified carers in the region, as 25% of vacancies in Nova Scotia are going unfilled. With 21% of the population over 65, the ageing population requires trained and experienced care professionals to fill vacancies.
The CCA Programme is a vocational course for existing care workers or those with relevant care experience in their home country to study for 40 weeks in Halifax. It includes a work placement in Nova Scotia so students can gain experience and opportunities for further career progression into the care sector. On completion of the course, graduates can choose to apply for settlement to continue their care careers via the International Graduates in Demand Stream (IGDS) for immigration into Canada. As an incentive, OIEG will refund tuition fees if qualified students fail to secure long term employment as a Continuing Care Assistant after their training is complete.
Work placement is a central component of the course, which is organised directly by the college and helps to prepare students for post-qualification work and build their network. During the programme, alongside their classroom-based studies, students work shifts in local care homes/environments to embed their knowledge and build trust with staff and patients. While a basic understanding of the English language is required, some further tutoring is also available.
Sheila Nunn, Director of Business and Partnerships from ECIC, states:
“Without a significant intake of care staff, there will not enough people in the social care system to aid the elderly and those needing help in Nova Scotia, but throughout Canada. International students offer a plethora of knowledge, skills and motivation, and will also boost the local economy. Our programme with OIEG means we can provide real-life experiences for our students while they study, preparing them for careers in the care profession.”
Lil Bremmerman-Richard, CEO of OIEG, states:
“International students are increasingly in demand thanks to their broad base of experience and perspective. With our global network and programme with ECIC, we can help link up communities needing to address a social care skills shortage, with experienced students, who train in the local care homes and environments – offering the opportunity to continue their career in Nova Scotia.”