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Provincial funding providing invasive species training employment for curtailed mill workers

Up to nine workers in Williams Lake, Ashcroft and Salmon Arm to benefit
Provincial funding will provide the opportunity for nine people impacted by mill closures to work for the Invasive Species Council of B.C. in Ashcroft, Williams Lake and Salmon Arm. (Invasive Species Council of BC photo)

Up to nine workers affected by mill curtailments will have the opportunity to gain skills and work in invasive species management and awareness in Williams Lake, Ashcroft and Salmon Arm.

The training is possible after the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) learned it will receive over $550,000 from the Province’s Community and Employer Partnerships program (CEP) to provide on-site work experience.

“Workers affected by mill curtailments have a lot of transferable skills and deserve the opportunity to put them to use,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in a press release. “This invasive species project is a great opportunity to provide important and meaningful work for people who need it, while reducing the spread and impact of invasive species in B.C.”

The participants will complete a minimum of 150 site visits combined in Ashcroft, Salmon Arm and Williams Lake to increase protection of extensive agricultural and natural lands and aquatic systems from over 40 invasive species. Program participants will also be involved in presentations to increase awareness and education on invasive species in outreach events throughout the communities.

“The ISCBC works with many partners to reduce the impact of invasive species and increase awareness about healthy landscapes,” said Gail Wallin, executive director, ISCBC. “Providing much-needed practical skills and experience for people who used to work in the forestry sector and in rural communities is a natural fit with what the ISCBC does and provides individuals with the chance to access key work opportunities.”

The project is designed to train participants in invasive species identification, management and monitoring. It will also train for rehabilitation and site restoration, including reseeding and invasive plant management.

It will run from July 2020 to March 2021.

Read more: Invasive Species Council to host agricultural pests workshop in Williams Lake

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