Mohawk College is opening up a new ‘living classroom’ at a Burlington, Ont., retirement and long-term care home that will help address the need for more workers in the sector.
The satellite campus at The Village of Tansley Woods is based on a successful model that Mohawk established with Schlegel Villages at The Village of Wentworth Heights in Hamilton five years ago.
The Burlington site will serve as the home training location for students in the personal support worker (PSW) and occupational therapy and physiotherapy assistant programs, with dedicated lab and classroom spaces and hands-on experience working with residents in the home.
Paul Armstrong, Mohawk’s chief operating officer, said this model of training that centralizes everything in one location has contributed to significantly increased enrollment.
“Through our learning living classroom locations, we’re able to reduce barriers to those that might not be able to travel back and forth between the campus,” he told Global News.
Mohawk is currently training between 300 and 400 personal support workers each year, up from between 100 and 120 a couple of years ago.
“The ability for students to get the training locally in one location, completely integrate their theory with their clinical within the Schlegel village location, has been a really important factor in creating more opportunities and helping us increase enrollments.”
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The model has also resulted in between 50 to 60 per cent of students gaining employment directly within the care home in which they’re training.
James Schlegel, the president and CEO of Schlegel Villages, said in a release that the organization is “thrilled” to expand its partnership with Mohawk College.
“We know this type of experiential learning creates exceptional caregivers,” wrote Schlegel. “When we combine the hands-on experience students gain alongside our team members and the lived experience they learn from our residents, graduates begin their careers with a true understanding of what relationship-centred support looks like.”
It’s scheduled to open this September and will accommodate 24 students in each of the programs.
Armstrong said they’re always looking for more opportunities to partner with other long-term care homes to expand the programs and get more students trained directly in the field.