Stepping Stone Hospice’s Centre of Palliative Learning has reached a historical milestone in January 2020 when their first group of 30 Home Based Care Assistant students were successfully placed in the workplace to complete their six-month practical experience.
Head of the Centre, Sonia Thomson, says she is delighted with the positive outcome of their first ever Home Based Care Assistant programme, launched in September last year and aimed at students from previously disadvantaged communities. “Not only were we able to empower these young people with the skills to enter the job market, but also to equip them with the skills to reach out to communities desperately in need of quality care.”
In line with the government’s YES (Youth Employment Service) programme introduced in March 2018, this group of students received sponsorship from the private sector for the programme, covering their learnership as well as a monthly stipend cost.
“A strict selection and recruitment process is in place to select students eligible for the programme,” explains Sonia. “Not only were we looking for young people able and committed to complete the programme, but they needed to be well-suited to this type of work – showing compassion was a huge factor in the selection process.”
After completing an approximate 80 hours theoretical training, under the guidance of the Centre’s Principal, Sr Fiona Shraga, the students then had to successfully complete 300 practical training hours in a simulated environment. The students were then placed in the workplace where they will now complete a further 300 practical training hours before receiving their Home Based Care Assistant (NQF2) qualification.
“Not only do they work in our In-Patient Unit, but were also placed in facilities such as old age homes and centres for disabled children. They are being monitored by myself and Sr Fiona on a regular basis,” says Sonia.
You are welcome to visit the Stepping Stone Hospice website for further information on training offered by the hospice’s Centre for Palliative Learning: www.steppingstonehospice.co.za