Skilled labour and tradespeople are essential for the future of our industries and communities. Our recent investments in infrastructure and job creation have led to increased demand for skilled workers in various sectors.
We want to make sure that we are providing B.C. residents with the opportunities and proper training to fill those positions. As part of the B.C. Jobs Plan, the B.C. government is investing more than $13 million in new employment skills training in regions throughout the province. This translates to more than 50 skills-training programs, delivered by 20 post-secondary institutions under the government’s Employment Skills Access Initiative. $2.5 million of this funding will go toward 10 new skills training programs in Northern B.C. At Thompson Rivers University (TRU), and we have increased annual operating grants by $11.2 million — a nearly 21 per cent increase since 2005/06 — to allow further investment in trades education. We have also provided 111 new, funded student spaces at the university. The government is working with TRU and educational institutions across the province to develop training programs in areas with high job demand, including the quickly growing resource sector. At the same time, we are also investing $10 million in B.C. sector and industry groups to encourage them to develop new training programs that meet labour market needs. We are extending the Training Tax Credit program, which encourages employers and workers to engage in apprenticeship programs for additional skills training opportunities. And we are continuing our Aboriginal Training for Employment Program, which supports First Nations and Aboriginal students in pursuing further studies and employment opportunities.
In fact, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation just received a $150,000 grant to support hands-on training, in-class instruction, and career planning and skills for various occupations. The B.C. government’s investments in skills and employment training will prepare hundreds of employees to fill jobs across the province, while increasing productivity for employers and contributing to our local industries and economies.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.