Printer-friendly version   



For Immediate Release

Nov. 24, 2012

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training



British Columbians join Skills for BC online discussion


VICTORIA—The Skills for BC online discussion has shown that British Columbians are eager to help ensure they have the skills needed to fill B.C.’s jobs and that B.C.’s training system can meet future demands, said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.


Starting with Premier Christy Clark’s first appearance during Global BC’s News Hour Nov. 1, hundreds of British Columbians have shared their unique trades- and technical-career perspectives on the BC Jobs Plan website. Many more have commented using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and email.


“Through the BC Jobs Plan website alone, we’ve received more than 275 comments about what is working with our current trades-training system as well as things we can do to improve it,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell. “I’m impressed by the ideas on how we, along with our industry partners, can continue to enhance British Columbia’s skilled workforce.”


Visits to the BC Jobs Plan website total more than 26,000 since Nov. 1, and 1,844 Facebook users chose to connect to the discussion by liking the BC Jobs Plan Facebook page – a total increase of 50 per cent. Comments and ideas submitted by users on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn number in the thousands.


Initial analysis shows core action themes emerging in the discussion, including:

·         Re-think trades and technical education in elementary and high school –
Many participants believe that teachers have a tendency to push students towards pursuing degrees rather than trades. Others talked about ways to fast track qualified trades people towards getting teaching qualification. Many participants also talked about the importance of improving school facilities and equipment so that students get a modern experience of trades and technical careers with modern tools.



·         Doing more to connect industry and schools to give students hands on experience in trades and technical careers –
Specific suggestions included doing more to connect schools and students to economic information and employers, building on successes like ACEIT, Project Heavy Duty in the Peace River region or Trades Exploration course at Claremont School on Vancouver Island, and encouraging ‘road shows’ where young people can learn from employers and each other about the opportunities. One interesting idea was setting up training and orientation when there is a large major project happening in the community.


·         Work with employers to encourage more investments in workplace training, recognizing the pressures businesses face – especially small businesses –

Participants discussed the challenge of being a new apprentice and struggling to find employers prepared to take on less-experienced people. Others spoke from the perspective of small business owners and senior trades people, discussing the challenging tradeoffs between getting the work done, investing in people and retaining them in a highly-competitive marketplace.


·         Create paths for people to transition into trades or technical careers, no matter their age or background –

Many participants in their 20s and 30s talked about how they are keen to take advantage of the opportunities in the trades and technical fields, but are challenged to make a change. Others, in their 40s and 50s, also expressed interest. Opportunities to create job-share programs, targeted training initiatives, opportunities to challenge formal credential processes and enhanced benefit programs that support people in making career changes were identified as possible ways to deal with this issue.


Premier Christy Clark, John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology, and Don McRae, Minister of Education, have been active as moderators in the Skills for B.C. discussion.


“The people of this province have incredible economic opportunities in front of them,” said Yap. “It’s obvious that British Columbians have an appetite and desire to get the skills needed to seize this prosperity.”


Three of the five key challenges to building B.C.’s workforce have been opened of discussion, but it’s not too late to join the conversation on Tune in, compare, take part and share your unique British Columbian perspective on skills and technical training in B.C.


“If you have experience working in skilled or technical fields or an interest in these fields, if you’re an employer, a young person, an educator or a mentor, you matter in this conversation,” McCrae said. “Please add your voice.”




Media Relations

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training

250 356-8177





Connect with the Province of B.C. at