Port Alberni paramedic lures Justice Institute course to North Island College

North Island College and the Justice Institute of B.C. are offering a paramedic course in Port Alberni this fall, and further courses may be coming, city councillor John Douglas said.

  • Jun. 30, 2011 7:00 p.m.
Port Alberni North Island College principal Tim Weegar

Port Alberni North Island College principal Tim Weegar

North Island College and the Justice Institute of B.C. are offering a paramedic course in Port Alberni this fall, and further courses may be coming, city councillor John Douglas said.

The Justice Institute is located on the Lower Mainland and it delivers paramedic, police, fire, corrections and safety training programs.

The course being taught in Port Alberni will be the institute’s primary paramedic course, which is the first requirement to be a paramedic in B.C.

The 20 students start the 15-week program in August by taking anatomy and physiology, and classroom paramedic training sessions begin in September.

Certified graduates are eligible to apply to be licensed as B.C. paramedics through the Emergency Medical Assistant Licensing branch.

If the course delivery goes well then expanded paramedic and other program offerings could be in the cards, said city councillor John Douglas, who is also a paramedic.

“This is part of a broader vision instead of just a one-off,” Douglas said.

A program would attract people to the Alberni Valley to take and teach the course, and they may consider living here afterward.

More importantly, the course could stem outward migration from the Valley if young people have another post-secondary option to pursue here, Douglas said.

The opportunity is an exciting one with potential, North Island College principal Tom Weegar said.

Douglas came across the opportunity when he found out the paramedic course being delivered in Parksville was ceasing.

Officials were considering delivering the program out of Courtenay when Douglas triangulated his way into the process and helped manoeuvre it to Alberni.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com