Training options expanded for Kamloops paramedics

Training options expanded for Kamloops paramedics additional student spaces

Future paramedics in Kamloops will benefit from additional student spaces in the Primary Care Paramedic program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) to help meet immediate and projected employment needs in the health-care field in the Thompson region and throughout the province.

The B.C. government is providing up to $685,600 in one-time funding to support the expanded delivery of the program through the JIBC. Kamloops will offer 15 seats, and applications are being accepted for the program starting in March 2012.

This one-time funding will increase the number of training seats in rural B.C. to support the B.C. Ambulance Service’s paramedic recruitment and staffing needs.

“Paramedics are an absolutely crucial component to our healthcare system.  It’s reassuring to know that people who have an interest in becoming paramedics will have an opportunity to do so in Kamloops,” said Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake.

The additional funding will allow up to 75 part-time students to complete the program in several communities across the province over the coming year.

The program is already underway in Port McNeill, with eighteen students beginning their classroom training earlier this month.

In addition to the program in Port McNeill, student applications are now being accepted for the part-time program in Smithers, Dawson Creek and Kamloops. Plans are underway for a January 2012 start in Smithers and a spring 2012 start in Kamloops and Dawson Creek.

These courses are in addition to regular, full-time PCP program offerings at JIBC campuses in New Westminster, Victoria and Kelowna.

Since 2003/04, the number of full and part-time paramedics employed by the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) has grown by 12 per cent – 3,639 in 2009/10 compared to 3,244 then.

In 2010/11, the BCAS fleet consisted of 478 ambulances and 53 support vehicles across the province.  Since 2001/2002, BCAS has added a net 43 ambulances and 24 support vehicles to the service.

For information on course dates, learning objectives, how to apply, and other aspects of the full-time and part-time PCP program, go to: www.jibc.ca/programs-courses/schools-departments/school-health-sciences/paramedic-academy/programs/primary-care-paramedic.

For information about student aid programs for post-secondary training, go to: www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentaidbc.

For more information on the B.C. Ambulance Service, go to: www.bcas.ca.