Community Support Worker

Are you a caring and empathetic individual looking to make a difference in your community and society? Your future should be in community support-based work.

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    Delivery Method

    Delivery Method: In-Class

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    Duration: 32 weeks, including a 7-week practicum

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    Starts: Once per year (October)

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    Credential: Diploma

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    Wages: Up to $20.71/hour

Are you a caring and empathetic individual looking to make a difference in your community and society? Your future should be in community support-based work. Train to effectively promote the mental, physical and emotional health of people with specialized needs so that they may live as fully and independently as possible.

Community Support Workers assist people with learning disabilities, physical challenges or other special needs, along with their families. They model, teach and support all functions of home life, daily living activities, leisure and recreation leading to an improved quality of life and greater self-reliance for people with specialized needs. Community Support Workers also build community relationships (i.e. networking with employers) so that they may encourage people with developmental disabilities in their career discovery process. Furthering employment options for those they work with, Community Support Workers also build training plans and provide direct support within the workplace.

Stenberg College is accredited by the BC government’s Ministry of Advanced Education through the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB).

PTIB is responsible for setting standards of quality and ensuring consumer protection. Stenberg College has also received the BC government’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation which is BC’s brand or “seal” of quality post-secondary education for both public and private institutions.

Stenberg College was the recipient of the 2015 Inclusive Employer Award recognizing innovative business leaders and employers in the Surrey, Delta and White Rock communities that have gone above and beyond to create a welcoming workplace and providing meaningful employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

All of our programs are developed in collaboration with industry to meet their needs which is why our graduates are so successful.

Over 92% of our graduates are employed in their field of study within 6 months of graduation.

As a Community Support Worker, you’ll find opportunities for employment in residential, supportive housing units day-programs, community health care agencies, adult protective services, social services support and respite care.

Based on employment statistics gathered by Stenberg College, the wage range of Community Support Workers is from $14.40 – $20.71 per hour depending on experience and location.

  • Completion of Grade 12 or 19 years of age or older
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance examination
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview
  • Successful completion of a short written essay
  • Passing Verbal Test of English if English is a Second Language
  • Completion of a Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Reference letter stating suitability to work with people with developmental disabilities

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, students will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
  • Acceptable Medical Examination Form completed by a physician

Note: A valid driver’s license (or new driver status) is highly recommended. Graduates without a driver’s license may face limited employment opportunities and lower wages.

NB: Additional criteria may be required to fulfill industry guidelines; students will be informed in advance of any requirements that need to be fulfilled for placements

Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description:

Orientation and Student Success Skills

This course will provide a comprehensive orientation to Stenberg College. As with all new things, there will be some challenges to overcome; however, with this course, you will become familiar with your new environment and the resources available. You will gain effective learning and study strategies and will participate in life skills exercises that teach communication, accountability, teamwork, self-awareness and build understanding of the impact you have on others.

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Professional Communication

You will learn theoretical and practical skills to promote effective communication with clients and co-workers in a helping relationship. By the end of the course, you will demonstrate an awareness of your own communication skills and be able to use techniques such as empathy active listening and conflict resolution. Team building, values, ethics, professionalism, leadership and employability skills will be explored from a care-based perspective. There will also be an introduction to effective electronic interaction and cross-cultural communication.

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Computer Fundamentals & Applications

You will be introduced to – and gain skill working in – the Windows environment, as well as Outlook, Internet Browsers, and Excel. Special emphasis will be placed on using MS Word proficiently.

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Occupational Health: Creating the Safe Environment & Self Care: Setting Boundaries & Staying Healthy

This course introduces you to basic workplace safety necessary for employment in community social services. You will also be introduced to integral topics for maintaining personal health with discussion on self-care, stress managements, setting boundaries and lifestyle choices

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Human Development across the Lifespan

Understanding human development is basic to therapeutic practice and is essential for all work with clients. The first section in this course will focus on child development from pre-birth through to age 12 years; historical perspectives, theories and methods and give you an understanding about early childhood studies, ethical issues and approaches to child study. Influences upon the developing child are studied and you will be able to establish guidelines for the role of the practitioner. The focus for this course is on adolescence and the adult years. Topics in the adolescence to adulthood section of the course will include puberty, independence, coupling, aging and death and dying.

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Health Promotion in Community Support Work

With a focus on promoting health, you will learn about the structure, functions and diseases of selected human body systems. In this context, you will learn to provide personal support skills in assisting with routine activities and in special situations. (i.e. supporting people in wheelchairs, with feeding tubes and other specialized needs). To best protect yourself and the people you are supporting, you will also learn safe body mechanics (including lifts/transfers) and standard precautions / aseptic techniques (hand washing and infection control).

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Integrated Practice Experience

Throughout coursework, you will have integrated practice experiences in the workplace so that you can form questions, observations, reflections and build connections and familiarity with the material you are learning in your coursework. With the supervision of a Practice Education Monitor, you will be placed out in the field and, after each placement, will then actively and collaboratively reflect on your experiences within a dedicated online learning site. You may be required to be available during the day, afternoon, evening and weekends.

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Understanding Developmental Disabilities, Autism & Other Complex Needs

This course provides you with a fundamental understanding of the most common challenges of people with specialized needs that you will be supporting in your work. This course will include an exploration of the current knowledge base and enable you to find and use evidence informed research and practice, particularly with respect to determining strategies to use when supporting people with these conditions.

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Alternative, Adaptive and Augmentative Communications

This course will teach you to apply the principles of teaching and learning to support people with challenging communication needs. Alternative and augmentative forms of communication will be explored with a strong emphasis on practical learning techniques for assisting communication. Aided and unaided methods of communication will be covered with an introduction to American Sign Language (ASL). The introduction to ASL consists of a 3 hour presentation where you will learn about American ASL, the Deaf community and their culture. During this time, you will be actively involved in your learning and will have an opportunity to practice fingerspelling, and learn how to sign a basic introductory dialogue.

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Understanding Human Sexuality

You will be introduced the key issues fundamental to an informed understanding of the role of sexuality in the lives of people with developmental disabilities. This course will help develop an awareness of the factors influencing human sexual behaviour (i.e. biological, psychological and sociocultural). You will be better able to understand sexual behaviour when you confront it and how to educate and prevent sexual abuse in persons with developmental disabilities.

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Abnormal Psychology / Dual Diagnosis

The goal of this course is to provide you with information and skills, which will increase your effectiveness in supporting people who have a dual diagnosis (a developmental disability and a mental health problem). The course will review why people who have developmental disabilities are vulnerable to mental illnesses; diagnostic issues (including an introduction to the DSM-IV); the biopsychosocial model of mental illness; six major types of mental illnesses and how they present in people who have a developmental disability; diverse intervention modalities and how to provide comprehensive supports. There will also be a focus on how the mental health system operates and the systemic issues, which may prove as barriers to accessing services for people with a dual diagnosis.

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Person Centered Practices

You will be taught the historical perspective, etiology, ethics, and teaching strategies to enhance your practice in designing, supporting and encouraging independence for people who have a developmental disability. Positive programming will be a focus of the course and there will be an introduction to the case management process. You will also be given opportunities to develop strategies for assessing, planning, implementing and monitoring learning goals based on individual differences, needs and abilities. The additional certifications gained in this course are: Person Centered Thinking, Essential Life Planning and the advanced levels of MANDT

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Life Skills Mentoring & Teaching Strategies

Life Skills are a variety of different skills that are required to manage personal affairs. The purpose of Life Skills training is to assist people to think through problems for themselves and to make their own decisions. The intent of the training is to increase a person’s freedom of choice. The emphasis is on personal learning, which includes an ability to manage one’s life effectively and with more confidence. In its truest sense, Life Skills training involves behavior change (and accompanying change in attitude), new ways of interacting, of thinking and of problem-solving. Based on the NewStart Life Skills model, this course prepares you to develop Life Skills lessons and to facilitate groups, model and evaluate skills and support individualized learning with marginalized groups and people.

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Supporting Transitions

You will learn how to provide salient information and direction to people with developmental disabilities who are starting a new opportunity (i.e. taking the bus). You will also learn to support people in their transition to an employment environment. This will include an exploration on how to establish relationships with employers, the importance of addressing / making necessary adaptations to the job description and how to ensure the success of the supported individual in securing and maintaining employment.

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Basic Pharmacology & Medication Delivery

You will be introduced to basic pharmacological concepts with specific emphasis and application of medication delivery, legal obligations and professional accountability. The 10 Rights and Responsibilities of medication delivery will be covered in this course. You will be supporting people with high health needs and an understanding of common medications and medication administration is fundamental to your work role.

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Consolidated Practice Experience

You will be given the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a community setting.

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Career Search Strategies

This course is offered in combined online and classroom delivery format. You will learn to network effectively (online and in person), to search and apply for jobs and to prepare targeted resumes and cover letters. You are also provided with coaching and individualized instructor feedback on your resume, cover letter and interview skills.

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Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System

WHMIS provides information about materials in the workplace that can be hazardous, such as cleaning agents, compressed gases and flammable materials. Becoming WHMIS certified will demonstrate the ability to identify hazardous materials and handle them properly.

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Students learn how to prepare food in a way that protects customers from injury or illness. Some of the topics covered are food-borne diseases, personal hygiene and safe procedures for storing.

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Standard First Aid – CPR/HCP/AED

Students will take their Red Cross Standard First Aid Certification including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Health Care Provider (HCP) and Automated External Defibrillation (AED). This industry standard certification is valid for three years.

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MANDT (Non-Violent Crisis Intervention)

This training provides students with effective techniques for approaching an agitated person and helping reduce their tension, presenting alternatives to people when they lose control and/or become violent. This training also helps students to maintain the best possible professional attitude during interventions and introduces the physical intervention skills needed to maintain the welfare and safety of all involved.

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Introduction to American Sign Language (ASL)

This six-hour workshop introduces American Sign Language and the Deaf or Hard of Hearing community and provides you with the historical perspectives and evaluation of both. You’ll learn how to fingerspell the alphabet, perfect the signing of your name and progress in your signing skills through dialogue practice and performance. To receive the certificate for this training, there is testing to confirm basic receptive skills, signing skills, knowledge of ASL and the Deaf or Hard of Hearing community.

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Body Mechanics & Back Safety

You will be educated in proper body movement to prevent and correct poor posture, reduce stress on ligaments, joints and tendons and enhance physical capabilities. Proper body mechanics and back safety will enhance the longevity and success in the workplace and will help ensure that transfers and positioning are done in a manner that is safe and appropriate for everyone. Please note: While this training follows best practices, graduates may also be required to learn and follow workplace specific protocols.

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Person Centered Thinking

The training serves as a foundation for everyone who is involved in supporting people with significant disabilities. This training consists of exercises where the participants acquire basic person centered thinking skills such as:

  • The importance of being listened to and the effects of having no positive control
  • The role of daily rituals and routines
  • How to discover what is important to people
  • How to sort what is important for people from what is important to them
  • How to respectfully address significant issues of health or safety while supporting choice
  • How to develop goals that help people get more of what is important to them while addressing issues of health and safety

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Essential Lifestyle Planning (ELP)

The training and material has been extensively applied to help people with developmental disabilities and offers an extensive array of exercises and activities (with supporting materials) that can be used to train staff, family members and friends in the skills and values needed to develop and support the implementation of plans. This training is a way to discover and describe:

  • What is important to a person in everyday life and;
  • How to address what is important to a person while also attending to any issues of health and safety.

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Personal & Professional Development Skills Certificate

Responding carefully to the needs of today’s employers, a series of Personal and Professional Development Workshops have been integrated throughout the program to develop critical thinking and soft skills. Workshops include Giving and Receiving Feedback, Conflict Resolutions, Active Listening, Providing Quality Service and Building Rapport, Leadership, and Employability Skills.

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You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans, as well as other financing options; the Stenberg College Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.

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