British Columbia rolling out massive training program to address job shortages

Click to play video: 'Province aims to get students into in-demand jobs'
Province aims to get students into in-demand jobs
WATCH: The provincial government has laid out a new plan to try and tackle thousands of job vacancies over the next decade, and it starts in the classroom. As Richard Zussman reports, students who enroll in an in-demand program will get a financial break – May 2, 2023

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

Click to play video: '‘In the next 10 years, B.C. will need to fill 1M job openings’: Premier David Eby'
‘In the next 10 years, B.C. will need to fill 1M job openings’: Premier David Eby

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

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

Eby said in the next 10 years, B.C. will need to fill one million job openings across the province.
All jurisdictions are facing a significant job shortage due to retirements and career changes due to COVID-19.

Click to play video: 'Trickle-down economic effect of job vacancies in B.C.'
Trickle-down economic effect of job vacancies in B.C.

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

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

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

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

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

“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 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 B.C. 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.

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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 B.C.’s student loan repayment schedule with that of the federal government.

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