Access granted: IH celebrates its largest HCAP graduate cohort

May 1, 2024
Mei encourages others considering Health Career Access Program (HCAP) to commit to it and enjoy the journey.

Yanmei (Mei) Chen never thought she was cut out for a job in health care. The former educator from China, who immigrated to Canada in 2020, was skeptical about changing careers later in life. But the financial pressures of the pandemic on her family eventually compelled her to make a change.

Mei heard about the Health Career Access Program (HCAP), a government-funded initiative launched in 2020 that provides a path for applicants with little to no experience in the health sector to get hired and receive paid training as part of their employment. The Kelowna resident said she sent a letter to Interior Health to “test the waters.”

“I was amazed I got an email back,” she says. “I couldn’t believe there was a program that let you retrain while paying you a salary.”

Interior Health (IH), like all B.C.’s health authorities, has been involved in the program since the beginning, and in March reached a milestone with our largest ever cohort of HCAP graduates — a whopping 73.

The graduates are spread across IH’s four regions: East Kootenay (19), Kootenay Boundary (17), Thompson Cariboo Shuswap (11) and the Okanagan (26). They're now ready to begin their new careers as health-care assistants at various IH or contracted or private sites or facilities.

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