Province reveals plan to increase skills training in Education system

Labor Minister Shirley Bond says the goal is to make sure British Columbians are trained for the one million job openings expected to occur, primarily as the result of LNG development, over the next eight years.

“It’s about over time using data to determine the programs that are going to be offered in British Columbia.  I think British Columbians will think thats a pretty pragmatic approach.  There will be changes, but its not about eliminating entire programs.  It’s about training the right number, for the right jobs today and in the future.  So it is a big shift”.

Phil Hochstein of the Independent Contractors and Business Association of B.C. says the new apprenticeship focus shows investors, the province is doing what it can, to train skilled workers and B.C. Construction Association President, Manley McLachlan, is also on board.  “It’s a great formula.  I don’t see there were any elements of the plan that were missed.  What were looking for is action, accountability and outcomes”.

Not surprisingly however, New Democrat Opposition Leader, Adrian Dix has issues with the plan.  “In a report which of course written for the government and therefore doesn’t say this rhetoric but in terms of fact.  The Liberal Government Policies over 10 years have been a disaster in skills training and we are now coming from behind compared to every other jurisdiction in the country”. 

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint lays out a major shift to a data-driven system where training dollars and programs are targeted to jobs in demand.  This system will also be outcome focused.  Success will be measured and funding and programs adjusted as the economy evolves.

The Blueprint delivers on the throne-speech promise to give young people a seamless path from school through to the workplace. Anchored by a strong emphasis on labour needs throughout the province, including those of the liquefied natural gas sector, B.C.’s Blueprint sets out three overarching objectives to maximize the potential of B.C.’s workforce:

1. A head-start to hands-on learning in our schools.

2. A shift in education and training to better match jobs in demand.

3. A stronger partnership with industry and labour to deliver training and apprenticeships.

As part of the launch of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, government is also releasing the final results of the Industry Training Authority (ITA) review. The final report sets out a further 29 recommendations to strengthen B.C.’s trades training system and increase the number of apprentices and certified tradespeople in priority sectors like LNG.