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March 2, 2020 7:40 AM

Career fair highlights value of PSWs

Conestoga's Career Centre and School of Health & Life Sciences hosted the PSW Career and Information Fair on February 13 at the Doon campus. During the event, visitors were invited to explore opportunities available in long-term and community care and learn more about Conestoga's Personal Support Worker (PSW) program.

Conestoga College - PSW Fair 2020.jpg
During the PSW Career and Information Fair at the Doon campus, visitors were invited to explore opportunities available in long-term and community care.

“People often think of nursing but are unaware of PSW as a valuable and rewarding career option,” said Sarah Pottier, chair, PSW and Supportive Care, as she welcomed guests. “There’s a need for PSWs in our community right now. We’re facing a critical shortage and the 30 employers here today all have positions they need to fill.”

As members of an inter-professional health-care team, PSWs provide supportive person-centered care across the lifespan to individuals and families, at various levels of health and wellbeing, in a variety of care environments including long-term, community and/or hospital care settings.Demand for PSWs is high as communities continue to face shortages. In Waterloo Region, the Waterloo Wellington LHIN estimates the need for PSWs has increased 9.4 per cent since 2014 — the equivalent of 400,000 hours of PSW services.

Following her presentation, Pottier led guests on a tour of the simulation labs in the state-of-the-art Cowan Health Sciences Centre. The PSW program is delivered at the Doon campus and is also available at the college’s Living Classrooms at Riverside Glen in Guelph and University Gates in Waterloo. In the Living Classroom model, students bridge the gap between theoretical learning and clinical practice in the actual setting where they will eventually practice.

“Thank you to all of the PSW students, PSW program team, community guests and employers that contributed to the success of the event and helped to increase the value and recognition of the PSW role in the community,” said Pottier. “Many PSW students have already secured employment through the fair and new students to the program said the event really demonstrated the need for PSWs in our community as well as the job opportunities available."

Students enrolled in Conestoga’s one-year certificate PSW program learn how to assist individuals with activities of daily living. Experiential learning, which is central to the program, is integrated throughout to support student application of knowledge, skills and judgment. Intakes are available in the fall and winter terms, with new day, evening and FAST delivery optionsfor 2020-2021.

To learn more about becoming a PSW, visit the program page or attend Conestoga’s Spring Open House on March 7 to meet faculty and tour campuses.

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