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Bond outlines ‘blueprint’ for skills training in Chilliwack

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, speaks to a small group of about 40 local business and education representatives at the Gathering Place, located at UFV
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, speaks to a small group of about 40 local business and education representatives at the Gathering Place, located at UFV's Aboriginal Centre, on Monday.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

B.C. is on the verge of “unprecedented” opportunities and jobs if it can just step up to meet the growing demand for a highly skilled work force.

That kind of technical and trades training is going to be in high demand and institutions like University of the Fraser Valley will play a critical role, said Shirley Bond, B.C. minister for Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

She was touring UFV and talking about the new Skills for Jobs Blueprint the province rolled out a couple of months ago.

The need for skilled workers “is not just an issue for B.C.” but holds true across the country. So there are plans to target $6 million in funding to reduce wait lists for trades training.

“For institutions like yours it will mean targeted funding, lined up with jobs we know will exist.”

By 2016-17, 25 per cent of funding will go to the “highest demand obligations.”

“We have to think differently and have to think innovatively.”

It means starting early to talk about trades and tech options.

“Parity of esteem” is the latest catchphrase when it comes to B.C. skills training.

One hindrance to attracting the numbers required for an adequately skilled and trained work force is the perception that university degree programs have more value than tech and trades training.

“There’s never been a more critical time for British Columbia in terms of unprecedented opportunity,” said Bond, “I wake up driven because the opportunities are so significant,” she said.

There’s “gigantic pressure” to increase the trades and training opportunities. She had praise for UFV’s partnerships with industry and the local school district.

“Institutions like yours are critical to solving that problem.”

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