A primary care paramedic program will be offered in March 2023 in Williams Lake, making it possible for students to study in their home community while working.
Nicola Harper, president of Columbia Paramedic Academy in Langley, said the program will be offered through the academy at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus.
If the academy is successful at obtaining Community Workforce Responde Grant funding, eligible students could receive the training at no cost, she added.
The training will be for people who already have the emergency medical responder certificate, but do not have to have previous work experience.
Spanning over eight-and-a-half months, the course will be offered part-time so that students can continue working. There is also a month-long practicum required by each student to complete 12 shifts of work experience. After the course is completed students will write a licensing exam.
Initially the course was going to begin in February, however, now the plan is to wait to see if the grant is approved. That way people who cannot afford to do the course will have more options.
During the regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15, city council agreed to write a letter of support for the grant application.
Harper said it is great to be able to offer the course in communities. They have already done training in Dawson Creek, Haida Gwaii, Castlegar, Quesnel and Cranbrook in the last two years and secured funding for almost 200 students for tuition, uniforms, textbooks, and in some cases, travel expenses.
“We see that students have a better chance at succeeding if they can stay in their home communities to do the course work,” she added.
Graduates of the program are eligible to work for BCEHS or industry.