British Columbia will face an interesting challenge in the coming years. While many governments struggle to deal with issues such as unemployment and a shortage of jobs, we know that we will soon face a shortage of workers, as the number of jobs will grow exponentially. In the coming years, we expect to see one million new job openings in our province. And of those one million new jobs, about 43 per cent of them will need trades and technical training.
Last week, we announced a comprehensive plan to expand and align skills training programs with economic opportunities to ensure British Columbians have the right skills, in the right places, at the right times.
Under the Canada Starts Here: BC Jobs Plan, the B.C. government unveiled the new Skills and Training Plan, which will establish a more effective skills and training system that will be built on four key areas of action: promoting and profiling today’s training for tomorrow’s careers: government will work to promote the dynamic opportunities in the trades and technical fields and improve policies to support these choices; investing $75 million to improve training facilities and equipment, and ensuring the availability of technical education teachers, particularly with trades certification; getting the right mix and quality of trades and technical programs and reducing the time required to achieve certification while maintaining the high standards required by employers; and by matching economic immigration selection to meet British Columbia’s labour market needs.
Last week we also announced $17 million in funding to upgrade skills training equipment at public post-secondary institutions around the province. An extensive inventory and analysis will be conducted of the skilled training equipment at each B.C. post-secondary institution.
For those local institutions in the Cariboo-Chilcotin that will apply for funding, I will be at the table working hard to ensure we get the funding we need. There is a great demand for trades training in rural B.C., and I’m making sure workers have the supports they need to take advantage of the economic opportunities that lie ahead of us, right here at home.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.