Northern Lights College Provides Training for Frontline Workers

Twelve indigenous students are set to graduate March 26 from Northern Lights College’s Supportive Care Assistant Program, qualifying to work as front line workers.

The program was created in partnership with the North East Native Advancing Society (NENAS) and in consultation with Northern Health.

“This was a program to be able to get our students into the community, boots on the ground, as quickly as possible,” said NENAS Executive Director Deanne McLeod. “The focus is on elders, but they can help anyone in need of health and wellness.”

While qualified to work in public healthcare, students will primarily be making house calls, assisting elders in their respective Treaty 8 communities, McLeod said.

“Once we went into COVID, a lot of our elders struggled, everything is going online or virtual,” said McLeod. “So it’s hard for them to stay connected with family and friends.”

Students will visit elders, helping them to use technology, setting up doctor appointments, vaccine rollout for COVID-19, as well as dropping off food and medication.

“These are transferable skills they can then take and carry on in a homemaker type role. But it gives them enough skills where they can already hit the ground running and be able to help anyone’s health department,” said McLeod, noting the students have the opportunity to pursue additional education.

Training has been underway since Feb. 8, with students using a mix of online and face-to-face training at NLC. Three month paid practicums will commence after graduation.

“We are very proud of these 12 students as they prepare to graduate from the Supportive Care Assistant program, not only for their passion in caring for Elders in their community, but for their dedication to learning as well,” said Tracy Donnelly, Dean of Continuing Education.

Original article for NLC from