BC introduces Future Ready plan to train people for high in demand jobs

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VICTORIA – On May 2, the BC Government announced a significant workforce development initiative called the ‘Future Ready Action Plan’ to help thousands of people get the skills they need to succeed in the changing economy and help close the skills gap many businesses are facing.

Over the next ten years, B.C. will need to fill more than one million job openings. Eighty per cent of these jobs will require workers to have some kind of post-secondary education and training.

The StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan invests $480 million over three years through Budget 2023.

“Our economy is growing and innovating quickly,” said Premier David Eby. “Work is transforming, and we have more job openings than skilled people. That’s why we are taking action to make sure people are ready to seize new opportunities and build a good life here in B.C., and businesses are able find the people who drive our economy forward and deliver the services we all rely on.”

This Action Plan is focused on five priorities – making post-secondary more affordable, accessible, and relevant, providing the innovation and skills needed to fill the jobs of tomorrow faster, breaking down barriers so everyone can find a job that works for them, addressing Indigenous People’s workforcepriorities and making it easier for people new to Canada to find a job in the field they are trained in.

Under it the government will offer new future skills grant to give thousands of people new skills and opportunities through shortterm training options. The grant is up to $3,500 to cover the cost of micro-credential training for indemand jobs delivered by public post-secondary institutions throughout the province.

To meet the demand for technology workers in changing economy3,000 more tech-relevant post-secondary spaces will be created.

Province plans to offer expanded Skills Training for People Facing Multiple Barriers – through this program, more than 3,200 additional people are expected to join B.C.’s workforce over the next 3 years.

“Every action in Future Ready is designed to take on the challenges of today, to build a better future for people and a stronger economy,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “Together, we are building a future in B.C. where people are able to acquire the skills and find the opportunities they need to thrive, and employers are able to find the people they need to sustain and grow their businesses.”

The $480-million action plan is highlighted by a future skills grant of up to $3,500. This grant will cover the cost of training for in-demand jobs. Beginning in September 2023, the grant will be available to British Columbians, making it easier for people to select from more than 400 eligible training opportunities at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. for the most in-demand jobs in areas such as construction, tech, housing and clean energy. For employers, this means some 8,500 newly trained people over the next three years will become skilled and ready to fill positions and address the skills gap.

“I’m hearing from businesses, small and large, that finding skilled labour is one of their biggest challenges,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “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. Good jobs are good for workers and for businesses. By working together, we can build a better future for B.C.”

The Province is also introducing rapid response training, which will support delivery of short-term training that responds quickly to labour market needs and the evolving economy. In addition, government is establishing TradeUpBC, a continuing education hub for in-demand jobs in the trades. Programs will target certified or experienced workers and will provide valuable skills that complement but do not replace apprentice training. Over three years, it’s estimated that up to 6,000 people will benefit from short-term training and TradeUpBC.

In addition, the plan includes measures that will break down barriers to help people enter the workforce and increase the number of students with job-ready skills needed for the tech-related and engineering workforce, early childhood education services, health-care professions, veterinary professions, teachers, construction jobs and other key sectors. Future Ready will also help employers recruit and retain employees to expand and grow.