An increasing demand for support workers is observable, especially in countries with a rapidly ageing population like Canada. With this increasing demand comes the need for these health professionals to upskill to present themselves as qualified candidates for the job they're applying for. Thankfully, countless platforms now offer an online course or two that can supplement the knowledge and skills of support workers.
In this article, we discuss MOOC platforms and their free courses relevant to upskilling support workers and also explain the Canadian government's programs that can help a student be a competitive support worker, consequently resulting in them landing their first job.
A Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) platform is a portal that offers courses covering a diverse set of subjects taught by providing learning materials like educational videos, lecture notes, and supplementary reading materials. People of all ages can enroll and start a course whenever they wish to, and because of this, MOOC-based learning allows students to learn at their own pace and with low to no cost.
Utilizing MOOC platforms is a great way for health professionals to stay updated on the new standards of care and even gain new skills relevant to health care. Here are some of the MOOC platforms that provide free access to their courses (note, though, that most will require a small fee should you need a certificate of completion of courses you have taken):
Coursera is one of the largest MOOC platforms available on the internet. It partners with top institutions worldwide to curate courses to cater to a wide range of topics and interests. Support workers can go to Coursera to learn more about providing high-quality patient care, which may be achieved by applying to the following courses:
FutureLearn is another MOOC platform that, like Coursera, also offers courses for a wide range of topics, from business and management to healthcare and medicine. Support workers can go to their platform for professional development and enroll in free courses like:
Alison is another leading free online course platform where you can explore different tracks like certifications or diplomas to help their learners upskill and build their careers in different industries, including health science. An example of a course that a support worker can enroll in upon signing up on the platform is the Becoming a Care Assistant course, which helps support workers provide quality health and social care by teaching law-adherent food safety and hygiene practices, description of caregiver roles, and various essential skills and knowledge like medical terminologies, communication, and IT.
OpenLearn is a free online course initiative offered by The Open University as a part of their commitment to improving their community. By creating a free course, learners gain access to many free courses of different difficulty levels, track their progress, and work toward a non-credited certificate of completion. Support workers can benefit from courses under the Health, Sports & Psychology category, particularly on these courses:
Caredemy is an online platform offering training on compliant care, which can also provide CPD units to its learners. Aside from their paid training courses, they also offer free, accessible courses to allow learners to decide if their paid courses are for them or not. Here are some of their CPD-accredited training courses that are available for free:
Yes, the Canadian government, through their provincial governments, pays for a personal support worker course and other courses for support worker jobs. The New Brunswick government, for instance, provides free tuition grants as a response to the need to strengthen the workforce for the healthcare sector due to the increasing demands in Canada for these health professionals. In this program, Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for the grant that covers transportation and living expenses and the tuition for one of the following courses:
One of the colleges offering such is Eastern College, whose Admission Team is committed to providing such opportunity for full-tuition grants. A student wanting to become a home support worker may enroll in their 22-week-long intensive program that teaches their students the necessary knowledge and skills to become successful in the field. This includes anatomy, nutrition, and curating a care plan to care for older adults and people with disabilities and effectively help them perform their daily routines.
MOOC-based learning is a great way for support workers to upskill and enhance their knowledge for professional development. They provide comprehensive courses that complement the university-based training, which may be fully funded by the government, a health professional may get.
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