The kitchen is the heart of the home, so for a home like Rainycrest, that heart has to be pretty big. It takes a large and dedicated staff to create 289,080 meals and snacks for the residents at Rainycrest Long Term Care each year, and that team is set to expand.
Rainycrest hasn’t been immune to staffing shortages, which have affected businesses and industries across North America. In an effort to compete, Riverside Health Care has revamped its Food Service Worker position, with a pay raise, and shifts which allow for better work/life balance.
“We have completely revised our schedule to support the recruitment and retention of our Food Service Workers,” says Simone LeBlanc, Director of Support Services. “We have worked closely with our team and the union to develop a schedule based on their feedback, one that promotes work life balance, and creates a number of new full time positions”.
It has opened up three full time and five part-time positions, including shifts that make it ideal for students, parents with school age kids, or anyone looking for a second job. In addition, rotations with regular scheduled weekends off have been developed for full time employees. It’s a great career choice for anyone with an interest in food and nutrition and who enjoy working with others.
“Our part time positions provide a great schedule for people in many different situations – we have created positions that have four hour morning shifts which can be great for someone with a young family. We also have short evening shifts that can be great for students, or someone looking for a second job,” said LeBlanc. “These jobs are also a great opportunity for post-secondary students interested in looking at a career in health care, or Food Services as they can earn a good wage and gain exposure to the environment.”
It’s also a rewarding job, added LeBlanc. Meal times are fun and social times for both residents and staff. The menu is created in partnership between staff and residents through the Resident Council. These monthly meetings help the Food and Nutrition Service Team to create an enjoyable menu of favourite foods.
“For our residents, Rainycrest is their home, and having a menu they enjoy adds pride and happiness to each day,” said Kathryn Pierroz, Communications Coordinator. “Meal times at Rainycrest are one of the most enjoyable activities of the day for residents and staff alike.”
Mrs Murray serves as a member of the Resident Council, and has enjoyed the collaborative process. “I would like to extend my thanks to the dietary aides as they are often ‘unsung heroes’ and I would like them to know that they enjoy their food that the cooks prepare and that their servers are appreciated,” she said.
Training for the job doesn’t need to be completed before hiring; new hires have three years to complete a Food Services Worker course, which is a six class course available online through a number of Ontario Colleges, included Confederation College. In an effort to train more food service workers, Northern College is now offering the course tuition free. Part time and Full time employees can also take advantage of Riverside’s payroll deduction for education program as well as apply for annual bursaries through the Riverside Foundation to support their education.
“Our Food & Nutrition Services Team is very skilled. Under the Long Term Care Act, each Food Service Worker must complete the Food Service Worker (FSW) course and hold a valid Safe Food Handlers Certificate.” explained LeBlanc.
Food Service Workers with Riverside are paid $19.81 to $22.35 per hour, and there are pension and benefit options available. Anyone interested in applying can visit riversidehealthcare.ca/join-our-team.