Skills training providers finalized for B.C. program

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — There was confirmation this week that contracts have now been finalized with 63 providers to deliver targeted skills training programs across B.C., under the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund.

Some of the Employment Services and Supports contracts have already been completed but others will continue into September.

More than 5,500 residents are the current beneficiaries of a nearly-$36-million investment. It provides a wide range of skills training, from job readiness and essential skills to entrepreneurial and trades training for under-represented groups in the trades, like youth, women, and Aboriginal people.

Here in the Northeast, there are six listed service providers including the BC Construction Association, Bowman Employment Services, the Northeast Aboriginal Business Centre, the Obair Economic Society, the Piping Industry Apprentice Board, and the Dawson Creek Literacy Society.

The goal of the training is to help the unemployed find steady work and the encouraging news for them is that in what’s described, as a rapidly changing labor market, more older workers are now leaving the workforce, than the number of young people entering it.

Still, the key to finding work is to have the skills to be first in line for the in-demand jobs, and almost eight out of ten of them will require post-secondary education or trades training.

According to Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond, it’s expected that there could be nearly 1 million of these job openings in B.C. in the next decade, due to retirement and economic growth.

Almost 1 million of these job openings in B.C. could be in the next decade — by 2024, close to 58,000 of them are expected in the Northeast, Cariboo and Northwest regions of the province.

As for funding, the federal government through the Canada Job Fund Agreements annually provides $500 million to the provinces and territories, with the B.C. per capita share at $65 million.

In addition, over the next decade, the province expects to redirect $3 billion in training investments towards these in-demand jobs.