FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Lights College is receiving provincial funding for 34 additional early childhood educator learning spaces.

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills announced Monday that 147 seats are being funded at eight public post-secondary institutions throughout the province.

The ministry says $1.32 million is being invested to expand early childhood educator training as part of the 10-year Childcare BC plan.

The new seats include full- and part-time studies and online learning, as well as specialty programs in Indigenous community-based delivery, infant and toddler, and special needs.

“Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life, and early childhood educators play a big role in that by helping kids develop their critical thinking, communication and social skills. Providing more opportunities to train early childhood educators empowers people who are passionate about caring for our children,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

“A strong workforce of early childhood educators will give B.C. families the peace of mind and time needed to pursue work, education and opportunities.”

The ministry says $8.66 million has been provided to create 1,003 ECE training spaces at 13 public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. since 2018.

More than two-thirds of additional seats were designated for rural and remote communities, the ministry said.

An additional 74 spaces have been made available since 2018.