B.C. must do more to prepare for tech job surge: report

Universities warn of broader skills shortage by 2016, not just in trades

Technology related jobs will outstrip B.C.'s ability to train the needed workers in the years ahead

Skilled jobs in technology and technical trades are forecast to be in high demand over the next several years, according to a new report.

But it argues B.C. isn’t adequately prepared to train enough young people to fill those roles.

An estimated 25,000 new jobs will be created by 2020 requiring advanced technology or technical education, according to the report from the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C.

That means about a 17 per cent jump from the current 150,000 positions in those fields.

The report makes 44 recommendations, including a call for the provincial government to draw up a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and training strategy.

Too few students enrol in post-secondary study leading to applied science careers, it warns, and a major wave of retirements of older tech workers is approaching.

The province is urged to focus attention on tech training programs in the north, Interior, and Kootenays that can then feed into second-year programs at larger institutions like BCIT.

“This is a critical priority given the extent of job creation and huge capital projects expected in northern regions over the next decade,” the report said.

The province’s strategy to export liquefied natural gas is alone expected to account for $48 billion in investment and 1,400 new jobs in the years ahead.

The report said the success of the province’s jobs plan in several key sectors will hinge on its ability to usher young people, new Canadians, aboriginals and others into the new careers.

Recommendations include extending a training tax credit to employers of certified technologists and technicians.

B.C.’s major universities are also issuing a call for more public funding.

The Research Universities’ Council of B.C. forecasts a serious skills shortage will hit the province starting in 2016.

It argues immediate action is needed to improve access to all types of post-secondary programs – not just trades but at the university and college level as well.

The council predicts 18,800 jobs could go unfilled by 2020 because too few residents have the needed training, forcing B.C. to import skilled workers.

“It’s a myth that tomorrow’s jobs don’t require university education,” SFU president Andrew Petter said.  “To stay competitive, maintain our quality of life and lead in research and innovation, we need more graduates at all post-secondary education levels.”

The research council urges the province to add 11,000 new post-secondary student spaces over the next four years to ensure there is space for every qualified B.C. student, along with more grants, scholarships and student loan help.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs erase three goal deficit in overtime win

Down 3-0 to the Cowichan Capitals, the Chiefs came back to win 4-3 in the BCHL Showcase match.

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read