Developmental Services Worker program guides students to a fulfilling and specialized career

Category: Programs & Academics

The Developmental Services Worker (DSW) program at Durham College (DC) is ideal for those who are passionate about helping people.

Students learn to provide critical support to people with developmental disabilities so that they can lead fulfilling lives as active members of their communities. It’s estimated that one per cent of Canada’s population has a developmental disability and requires support, so capable DSWs have plenty of job options according to Kay Corbier, Program Coordinator.

“This is rewarding work, and it is in extremely high demand in Durham Region. There is currently a staffing shortage in Durham and across the province. There are lots of jobs available and students often get hired for part-time work before they even complete their first placement,” said Corbier, adding that the skills students learn are transferable to other roles as well.

“They’re not limited to only working with people with disabilities. Many students work in recreation and some work with the elderly in long-term care residences. Students have also taken on administrative type roles such as scheduling and case management.”

Experiential learning is a priority in the program and takes the form of partnerships with many external non-profit organizations, including Community Living groups throughout Durham Region. DC also partners with school boards to support children and adults with developmental disabilities. Students have the opportunity to do a placement in a school as an Educational Assistant (EA) and they are placed with children and adults with autism.

These opportunities allow DC students to put their knowledge to work helping real people.

“Being able to watch the growth of the students I support through their academic careers has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience thus far,” said first-year student Kameron Valdez. “From helping students write complete sentences to working on and completing their final projects, this program has shown how much each student has developed and advanced, and being able to see this progress is truly a reward like no other.”

With the core values of social justice, empowerment, dignity, self-worth, human relationships and integrity, the DSW program produces graduates who make an immediate difference in their communities. To follow in their footsteps, apply today.