Scholarship fund aims to improve return-to-work outcomes for injured workers

Labour Minister Harry Bains at the announcement of the scholarship initiative.
Labour Minister Harry Bains at the announcement of the scholarship initiative.

WORKSAFEBC and the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences (PCU-WHS) announced a scholarship initiative on Friday designed to encourage and support students pursuing a career in disability management.

 
The two-year pilot project commits up to $150,000 per year to allow a maximum of 25 students with the relevant prerequisites to transfer into the Bachelor of Disability Management degree program at PCU-WHS. Each student will be awarded $6,000, covering most of the tuition costs for each year of the two-year program.
 
“These scholarships will ultimately help workers who’ve been injured access highly trained and qualified professionals to support their transition back to employment,” says Lee Loftus, vice chair of WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors. “Effective return-to-work programs are critical to maintaining an injured worker’s physical, mental, and financial health.”
 
Disability-management professionals collaborate with workers, employers, unions, health care providers, and workers’ compensation boards to maintain injured workers’ connections to their workplaces during recovery, and facilitate their safe, early return to work.
 
“One of my top priorities is to ensure that injured or ill workers get the resources and support they need,” says Labour Minister Harry Bains. “This scholarship program supports that priority, by helping fill a gap in B.C.’s workforce, increasing the availability of skilled workers in disability management, and ensuring graduates have a consistently high standard of practice.”
“The applied bachelor qualification offered by PCU-WHS is the first of its kind nationally and internationally,” says Wolfgang Zimmermann, President of Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences. “It focuses on the core competencies required to help workplaces develop a culture of accommodation and successfully maintain employment for workers who acquire a mental or physical health impairment.”
 
Students will be eligible for the scholarship after completing a two-year diploma or other prerequisites in a range of disciplines, but preferably in human resources, occupational health and safety, health care, social work, or business.
 
Detailed information is available on the PCU-WHS website.