British Columbia rolls out massive training program to address job shortages

British Columbia rolls out massive training program to address job shortages

The BC government is investing $480 million to train and re-train workers specifically targeting industries with current shortages.

The plan includes a future skills grant of up to $3,500 to help cover the costs of in-demand jobs.

The grants will be available starting in September and include training for construction, tech, housing and clean energy.

The province estimates the grant program will lead to 8,500 newly trained people over the next three years.

“Our economy is growing and innovating quickly,” Premier David Eby said Tuesday.

“Work is transforming, and we have more job openings than skilled people.”

Eby said in the next 10 years, BC will need to fill one million job openings across the province.

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Click to play video: 'BC to offer free tuition to former foster children of all ages'

BC to offer free tuition to former foster children of all ages

All jurisdictions are facing a significant job shortage due to retirements and career changes due to COVID-19.

British Columbia has seen the most migration from other provinces and outside of the country and this continues to put pressure on the labor market.

The province is also introducing rapid response training, which will support the delivery of short-term training that responds quickly to the needs of the labor market.

There will also be the creation of TradeUpBC, a continuing education hub for in-demand jobs in the trades.

The goal is to get 6,000 people some benefits from short-term training and TradeUpBC, according to the province.

“I’m hearing from businesses, small and large, that finding skilled labor is one of their biggest challenges,” Minister of Jobs Brenda Bailey said.

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“That’s exactly what this initiative will address. It will ensure businesses have access to a skilled and diverse talent pool, now and into the future.”

Click to play video: 'Post-secondary training or education necessary for job market'

Post-secondary training or education necessary for the job market

In this year’s budget, the government announced that post-secondary students will soon have access to a hefty increase in student loan funding.

The province’s 2023-2024 budget doubled the maximum BC student loan payout from $110 to $220 per week for individuals and from $140 to $280 per week for students with dependents.

The changes are expected to take effect in June.

Student loan recipients earning under $40,000 per year will also be exempt from repayments starting this year, up from a previous maximum of $25,000. The change will align BC’s student loan repayment schedule with that of the federal government.

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