As Ontario’s workforce faces employment challenges related to COVID-19, many individuals are using this time to reengage in learning by earning new credentials that will prepare them to launch or change careers.
“When I lost my job, the question was, where do I go now?” recalled Chris Beauchesne, who had been working in sales when his employer was forced to pause operations due to COVID-19-related closures.
Beauchesne, who lives in the Napanee area, took the layoff as a chance to attend college for the first time, and pursue a new career path.
In May 2020, he enrolled in the Personal Support Worker (PSW) program offered through Loyalist College’s Bancroft campus. This program uses a new hybrid delivery model created in response to COVID-19, which includes a blend of both online and community-based learning.
“I’ve always been interested in being a PSW,” said Beauchesne.
“The pandemic has shown us it’s a profession that is extremely important to the health of our society. Now seemed like the right time to go for it.”
Enrolment in the PSW program offered through Loyalist College’s Bancroft campus has increased by 53 percent since Spring 2019. An indication that others, like Beauchesne, are making similar career choices.
The flexible delivery model gives Beauchesne the ability to learn while spending time at home with his family, and placement opportunities, like those at the John M. Parrott Centre, connect him with employers in his community.
“The program’s remote delivery is ideal for me,” he said. “With no childcare available right now, I need to be able to spend time at home with my toddler. I’m able to work within my family’s schedule to participate in local placements, which means that when I graduate, I will already have connections in the industry and a solid foundation for employment.”
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) allows students with related knowledge and work experience to receive credit toward earning their PSW credential.
“PLAR provides fast-track opportunities for students, allowing for earlier completion than our traditional delivery options,” said June MacDonald-Jenkins, Dean, School of Health, Human and Justice Studies at Loyalist College. “Students who take advantage of these options can enter the workforce sooner, well prepared for work in this in demand field.”
As a PSW, Beauchesne is responsible for assisting individuals with many of life’s daily tasks, providing care and support for those who need it.
“PSWs are needed members of the interprofessional health care workforce,” said MacDonald-Jenkins. “They play an important role in providing accessible and reliable health care to some of our most vulnerable populations.”
Like many people, Beauchesne was drawn to the program as an opportunity to help others.
“People can be good at their job clinically-speaking, but approaching the work with empathy is equally important,” he said. “I’m efficient and empathetic, and that’s what is required now – and always. We need people caring for each other.”
Learn more about Loyalist College’s Bancroft Campus Personal Support Worker program.