Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake will offer the Community and School Support program, starting this fall.
The eight-month, employment-ready program prepares students to work in the community and school settings with children, youth, and adults with disabilities.
A press release says the program is the entry level qualification to work as a teaching assistant for School District 27 and provides an educational opportunity for people seeking a rewarding career working with others and helping them to overcome challenges and remove barriers to independence.
In the program, students learn to be effective support workers in schools and community settings, working with people with exceptionalities.
They also learn the specialized support for people with a variety of physical, intellectual, and behavioural supports,
The program in Williams Lake also offers students the opportunity to develop skills in the community, and they are introduced to autism spectrum disorder, intellectual and physical disabilities, as well as hearing and visual impairments.
Students also learn more general skills of both written and interpersonal communication and develop an understanding of development psychology and how to work effectively with children and youth.
Most successful graduates of the program are able to find work within a few months of graduating, the release says.
According to Shari Cooper, school district principal for support services, there is a continuing need for qualified school support workers or teaching assistants, as many people who have worked in these roles are retiring or moving on with their careers.
Many graduates also work in the community settings, supporting children and adults with disabilities in the workplace, community, and home settings.
An information night on the program will take place Tuesday. May 22 at 7 p.m. in room 1251 at the Williams Lake campus. Employers, program faculty, and grads will be on hand to answer questions about the program and the nature of working in the field.
Applications are available at the registrar’s office. For more information, contact Jay Goddard, program co-ordinator, at 250-392-8164.