Fanshawe looks to address PSW shortage with new tuition-free accelerated program

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A shortage of PSWs in the region has spurred Fanshawe College to offer an accelerated Personal Support Worker program across its campuses.

To meet the growing demand for personal support workers (PSWs), Fanshawe College is offering free tuition and $1,500 for associated costs to students who wish to enroll in an accelerated version of the Person Support Worker program this summer.

Susan Cluett, Dean of the Faculty of Access, Language and Regional Campuses and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Health, Community Studies and Public Safety, said the demand for PSWs is due to both the increasing population as well as the accompanying shift from hospital care to home care, when appropriate.

“The demand is increasing across the province, and it’s not just an Ontario challenge,” said Cluett. “This is a bigger issue for society in general as the population ages we have a greater number of community members who will require support.”

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The quality of support offered by personal support workers is a focus of the program at Fanshawe.

“The attention to the personalized care and the safety of the patient or client and the safety of the care provider is an important element of the training that we offer. Recognizing care is provided to vulnerable people in vulnerable circumstances, there is great attention to the importance of that confidential and safe care for the individual and for the worker.”

Cluett said self-reflective practice is emphasized in the program to make students aware of their limitations and to ensure the relationship between PSW and client remains healthy and rewarding. 

Self-reflective practice, according to Cluett, is “learning how to recognize in one’s practice of care where you are as a care provider – seeing opportunities for strengthening your ability to provide that care and support. Self-reflective practice is a very important element of the training in our nursing and PSW programs.”

Fanshawe will also provide $1,500 for supplies such as books, uniforms, footwear, transportation, childcare, and more, to students enrolled in the accelerated program.

The program runs over 24 weeks (six weeks less than the non-accelerated program). Students will also complete 300 paid work placement hours near the end of the program. Classes begin June 6, so students are encouraged to apply soon.

The free accelerated program is available to domestic students and offered at Fanshawe’s London, Simcoe/Norfolk, St. Thomas/Elgin and Woodstock/Oxford campuses and the Huron/Bruce Regional Site in Clinton. To apply, visit

“The employment opportunities are clearly available and that is one of the one of the reasons why we’re excited to offer this because we know there are jobs,” said Cluett. “I would certainly encourage students to consider this opportunity to enter a field that is very rewarding and has the potential for significant impact on our community.”

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