B.C. launches skills ‘re-engineering’

B.C. government has unveiled its plan to redirect post-secondary funds and student aid to jobs in demand

Justin Akinclose

VICTORIA – The B.C. government has unveiled its plan to match up skills training with emerging jobs in resource development, by redirecting post-secondary funding and financial aid toward occupations in demand.

The plan emphasizes industrial skills such as welding, pipefitting, heavy equipment operation, truck driving and concrete finishing, but ministers and officials stressed that it also includes engineering, health care and other occupations where jobs are projected to increase.

The main shift for colleges and universities is that within four years, a quarter of their operating grants will be targeted to programs with identified demand from the job market. Employment data will determine post-secondary funding, instead of the tradition of block grants to post-secondary schools.

Ministers avoided identifying areas that will lose funding, but have previously cited far more teaching graduates than there are jobs in the school system. Premier Christy Clark has lamented a system where students receive a bachelor’s degree and then must take additional training to qualify for jobs.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender outlined a plan for K-12 schooling that aims to double the number of spaces for high school students taking industrial training in high school to 5,000 in two years. Students in these courses get college credits while still in high school, allowing them to go to work more quickly.

The ministry is also revamping its kindergarten to grade nine curriculum to give it more emphasis on “hands-on learning” and exposing students in earlier grades to the range of jobs they can expect when they graduate.

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said the Industry Training Authority will soon get a new board of directors and industry advisory councils to provide up-to-date information on job market needs.

NDP leader Adrian Dix said the overhaul of the ITA to restore union representation on its board shows that the model set up 10 years ago has been a failure. He also questioned how the education system can be restructured without adding new resources.

“We need investment in skills training,” Dix said. “Instead what we have is a ministry of reallocation, which will cause considerable problems in the system and will not, I think, cumulatively give young people what they need.”

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said the student loan program will also be adjusted to market demand, with loans reduced or forgiven for students who graduate with in-demand skills and are willing to move to get work.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Haze over Okanagan and Shuswap skies may have drifted from Siberia

Few active wildifres so far this summer in B.C.

Heavy rain in Okanagan results in slowest start to fire season in four years

119 hectares of land burned so far this year, compared to 991 ha in 2019, and 3,835 ha in 2018

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Province releases report on Columbia River Treaty public feedback

Reservoir levels, fair compensation for impacted communities, among many issues raised

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

Kelowna cyclist breaks national ‘everesting’ record

Jacob Rubuliak, 17, rode up and down Knox Mountain 38-and-a-half times, the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest

New Mount Revelstoke National Park campground opening July 15

It’s the first campground built in a mountain national park in over half a century

Okanagan man arrested after reports of assaults on Kal Lake pier

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP officers successful after takedown on railway trestle

Man charged in Rideau Hall crash had rifle, shotguns, high-capacity magazine: RCMP

Hurren is accused of threatening to cause death or bodily harm to the prime minister

Kamloops RCMP looking into officer’s ‘black face’ social media posts

“Is my skin racist?” comments Const. Rupert Meinke on Instagram post of skin treatment

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa’s CERB, student pay

Shuswap business duo broaden downtown beach vibe

Jody Boychuk and Eddy Johnston enjoying bigger, brighter Sicamous location

Most Read