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Looking good one year later — B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint

Premier Christy Clark was all smiles on the first anniversary of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.

The BC government celebrated progress and success on the one-year anniversary Wednesday of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, government’s plan to help British Columbians find their fit in the province’s diverse, strong and growing economy.

As part of the celebration, Premier Christy Clark announced $727,500 for a unique program that opens the doors to a career in the trades for young people. Funding is for 326 new seats in 12 public post-secondary institutions for the Trades Discovery program.

This program offers students hands-on experience in a range of trades over 10 to 12 weeks. Following the program, students who want to continue training toward a trade can enrol in a foundation program or pursue an apprenticeship directly with an employer.

The Blueprint was launched a year ago to re-engineer education and training systems - from kindergarten through to post-secondary training and beyond. With one million job openings projected by 2022, driven by retirements and economic growth, the province will need to tap into the full potential of its workforce.

Students, educators, workers and employers gathered in front of the B.C. Parliament Buildings today to recognize how the Blueprint is having a positive impact on their lives and mark the plan’s first year achievements.

In the first year, government has delivered on its promise to provide a head start to hands-on learning with nearly 50,000 British Columbians in 31 communities participating in Find Your Fit, a youth-focused interactive event showcasing in-demand careers.

Data is being used to drive decision-making to better match education and training with workforce needs - and that has happened with 4,888 newly targeted post-secondary student spaces in 2014-15.

Government is building stronger partnership with industry and labour to deliver training and apprenticeships - just one example being the new online Apprentice Job Match tool, which connects apprentices with companies.

Recent Blueprint-related announcements include:

  • $30 million over three years for skills training in Aboriginal Communities and First Nations: http://ow.ly/MbRDI
  • Code-related training at five public post-secondary institutions supported with $250,000 investment. http://ow.ly/Mf21K
  • $6.1 million for 1,429 additional critical trades training seats in 14 public post-secondary institutions, bringing the total Blueprint investment in trades training seats to over $13 million for nearly 3,000 seats: http://ow.ly/MbRLY
  • $24.5 million over five years to help single parents on income assistance secure an in-demand job: http://ow.ly/MbRYi

Blueprint progress highlights include:

  • A second ACE IT intake was added, allowing more options for high school students to explore a variety of trades while they earn credit towards graduation.
  • Expanded financial aid options are available, including the new BC Completion Grant for Graduates and BC Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities, and the expanded B.C. Loan Forgiveness Program.
  • More than 545 Aboriginal people are receiving skills training through $7.4 million in joint federal and provincial funding.
  • Invested $4.3 million for at-risk youth aged 15-30 through Bladerunners program.
  • Construction under way on Okanagan College’s $33-million trades renewal and expansion.
  • Construction under way on Camosun College’s $30-million Trades Education and Innovation Complex.
  • Construction underway on the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology’s $1.8-million trades training facility.
  • Opened the $16.5-million Motive Power Centre of Excellence.
  • $4.4 million in 2014-15 to 14 public institutions to purchase new trades training equipment.
  • Formed the Labour Market Priorities board so government can focus skills training funding decisions on labour market demand.
  • An expanded WorkBC website and web tools to focus on youth, including Apprentice Job Match, Blueprint Builder and Career Compass.
  • Refocused the Industry Training Authority and hired 15 apprenticeship advisors throughout the province.