Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 15, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why British Columbia Institute of Technology / BCIT was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2021):
- BCIT supports new moms, dads and adoptive parents with generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 75 per cent of salary) and helps ease the transition back to work with flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, and shortened and compressed work weeks -- and subsidized onsite child care at the campus
- BCIT quickly moved students and employees to online learning and work-from-home arrangements back in March and set up a dedicated emergency response fund for students facing financial hardship due to the pandemic
- As part of the organization's raison d'être, BCIT encourages ongoing employee development with a variety of in-house and online training options, and a unique international mobility fund to provide faculty and vocational instructors with opportunities to participate in international research and teaching overseas
BCIT prepares health workers to face the pandemic
When COVID-19 struck last March, putting everyone into lockdown, Kathy Kennedy never considered stopping. As associate dean, School of Health Sciences at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), her thoughts were about being part of the solution.
First, by continuing to safely graduate urgently needed nurses in the 11 specialty nursing programs, such as critical care, that form Kennedy’s portfolio. These are qualified nurses who do further training at BCIT.
Next, Kennedy knew that professionals needed specific tools to handle COVID-19 patients who would be coming through in high volumes. So she called on BCIT’s Learning and Teaching Centre and the Specialist Nursing faculty to quickly help create a course, FEPA (Focused Education Preparation Advancing Frontline RNs), intended to upskill people who would be on the frontlines fighting the pandemic.
“The Speciality Nursing faculty came in droves to be part of this project to support our colleagues out there, because we all work on the frontline too,” says Kennedy. “What would normally take six months, we did in six days – and a lot of late nights!”
Since the launch of FEPA online on April 3, 2020, over 11,000 people across Canada and internationally have taken the free self-directed course. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People are so grateful for the knowledge we provided,” says Kennedy. “We just felt so passionate about wanting to help these frontline workers with some tools. We’ve had nothing but support, from our School of Health Sciences right up to our president, for what we were doing.”
Within the institute’s community, BCIT has made safety and well-being top priorities, including a COVID-19 emergency student response fund to provide one-time aid to students facing financial hardship and a re-branding of wellness programming for faculty and staff focused on mental health.
“Faculty and staff can sign up for virtual sessions on everything from financial impacts to tools and tips for parenting during a pandemic,” says Ana Lopez, vice president of human resources and people development. “We also have tools and training for people in leading roles to better understand how to provide additional support as leaders.”
Lopez notes that BCIT leaders at all levels have focused more on connection, communication, and supporting working remotely. Feedback from employees in BCIT’s recent engagement survey confirms how much value they place on these added supports.
“That’s what people need to get through this,” says Lopez. “Some of the enhanced communication we’ve taken on during the pandemic should continue. It’s critically important.”