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Important milestones at Stepping Stone Hospice’s training centre

CEO Tersia Burger, announced this week that Stepping Stone’s head of Human Resources & Training Centre, Sonia Thomson, was appointed by HPCA (Hospice Association South Africa) to take over the coordination of the Hospice Palliative Care Association’s Home Based Care Training Programme with immediate effect. This follows the resignation of Colleen Dempers as Coordinator of the HPCA HBC Training Programme.

Sonia played a pivotal role in the successful establishment of Stepping Stone Hospice’s Centre for Palliative Learning in 2018. Under her guidance and leadership, the QTCO (Quality Council for Trades and Occupations) approved Stepping Stone Hospice’s application for accreditation for their Home Based Care qualifications, being NQF Level 2 and NQF Level 3, in March this year.

In communicating to hospices throughout South Africa, Josef Lazarus, Advisor: Strategic Development at Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, explains that Sonia participated in the HPCA HBC Training Programme from the outset.

This appointment does not mean that Sonia will leave the employ of Stepping Stone Hospice, but she will add the HPCA duties to her current position as HR Manager and Head of the Centre of Palliative Learning at Stepping Stone Hospice.

“I’m extremely proud of the achievements at our Training Centre,” says Sonia, “including the positive outcome of our first ever Home Based Care Assistant programme, launched in September last year and aimed at students from previously disadvantaged communities.”

In January 2020 Stepping Stone Hospice’s first group of 30 Home Based Care Assistant students were successfully placed in the workplace to complete their six-month practical experience. “Not only were we able to empower these young people with the skills to enter the job market, but also to equip them with the skills to reach out to communities desperately in need of quality care.”

In line with the government’s YES (Youth Employment Service) programme introduced in March 2018, this group of students received sponsorship from Discovery Health for the programme, covering their learnerships as well as a monthly stipend cost.

On completion of their practical experience, these students will write an external exam set out by HWSETA to gain their accredited qualification as a Home Based Carer.

“I cannot be prouder of our training centre and its achievements,” says CEO, Tersia Burger. “It is comforting to know that through our centre and Sonia’s role on a national level in the training of Home Based Carers, we know that Stepping Stone Hospice’s level of professional care will be shared in the palliative care environment in South Africa,” says Tersia.

Sonia Thomson seen here in January this year with two of the students placed to work in the In-Patient Unit: f.l.t.r.: Sonia Thomson, Ezzy Langa, Fundi Hlatshwayo