More training seats for allied health professionals are coming to BCIT's Burnaby campus.
Today (July 19), B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Anne Kang, Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA and Advanced Education and Skills Training Minister, revealed as many as 322 training seats are being added at post-secondary institutions across the province.
BCIT his getting 16 of those seats for medical laboratory technologists (first intake in September 2022), 12 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists (first intake in January 2023) and eight radiation therapists (first intake September 2022).
Allied health professionals provide preventative, diagnostic, technical and therapeutic health care as well as clinical support services.
"Building up and supporting our health workforce is our biggest priority," Dix said in a news release.
"Our communities have been telling us how important the need for more health services is, and we are listening. You are heard. That's why we're supporting public post-secondary institutions to expand and create pathways to get more health workers into the system. We're on our way to seeing hundreds of new allied health workers join an incredibly rewarding long-term career. Our commitment does not stop here. We know more needs to be done, and we will continue our work to grow B.C.'s health-care workforce."
The province is also investing more than $10 million in bursaries and professional development funding to help train, retain and support allied health professionals.
BCIT will receive $2.5 million in one-time funding for a bursary program that will help current magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologist students who are also health authority employees complete their training.
The first bursaries were awarded in April 2022.
"Through flexible, relevant and future-proof education, BCIT students are ready to meet the health-care needs of British Columbia. Our school of health sciences delivers 32 programs that inspire and educate lifelong learners who foster health and well-being in communities across the province," BCIT interim president Paul McCullough added in the release.
"This includes our unique magnetic resonance imaging and radiation therapy programs and our medical laboratory technologists, who provide crucial care to help inform our health decisions. Investing in our health-care students strengthens the very foundations of the B.C. health-care system."
Expansions have been planned for other programs in the future across the province, including:
- 16 occupational therapist seats in 2026
- 40 physiotherapist seats (20 in 2024 and 20 in 2026)
- 20 rehabilitation assistant seats in January 2024
- Eight speech-language pathologist seats in September 2024