The University of Manitoba has secured upwards of $735,000 in federal funding to create a first-of-its-kind resource hub that will support internationally educated health-care professionals who want to qualify to practice in Manitoba.
The school announced Monday its health sciences faculty is launching a hub for newcomers educated in six fields that do not have existing bridging programs in the province, including: pharmacy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, respiratory therapy, speech language pathology, and audiology.
"We’re just hoping to make it easier (to start working in Manitoba) and get some needed health professionals into practice," said Natalie MacLeod Schroeder, director of the U of M’s yet-to-launch Access Hub for Internationally Educated Health Professionals.
MacLeod Schroeder said the goal is to provide professionals with "one point of access" for all things related to upgrading their skills — be it access to courses or preceptors — so they can begin working in Manitoba’s health-care system.
Challenges newcomers face when trying to transition to the Canadian workforce include getting international credentials recognized, taking unfamiliar exams, and securing supervised practical hours.
Accessing resources, online modules and guidance through the centre will be free, but internationally trained health-care professionals will have to pay for supplementary courses, if required.
The hub is expected to launch as early as next summer. It will operate online, for the time being.
The initial funding for the project, secured through Ottawa’s foreign credential recognition program, lasts until early 2023. Before then, MacLeod Schroeder told the Free Press the university’s goal is to reach between 400 and 500 professionals.
"This is another way of getting people who have the backgrounds and knowledge to help better support health-care," said MacLeod Schroeder.
She added in "post-COVID life," there will be increased demand for respiratory therapists, among others, as patients recover from the virus.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.