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Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
June 26, 2014
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
Wild and woolly partnership funding saves sheep skins

POWELL RIVER – An eco-friendly company is providing work experience for five local people, while setting up a social enterprise that recycles discarded sheep skins, thanks to more than $128,000 in Job Creation Partnership funding.

Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae was in Powell River touring Pebble in the Pond Environmental Society’s Tanned, Wild and Woolly processing plant, which received the funding to give eligible project participants 42 weeks work experience in waste reduction, small business management, marketing, sales, customer services, processing and transportation.

Pebble in the Pond workers take sheep skins discarded from farms and abattoirs, tan them organically and turn them into products like standard sheepskins, jogging shoe liners, bicycle and motorcycle seat covers, under-saddle horseback riding pads and bathmats, called baaamats.

By the time the project wraps up on Jan. 16, 2015, the non-profit is planning to turn the sheepskin business into a self-sustaining non-profit social enterprise which creates employment and where any profits made go back into the business.

Job Creation Partnerships are a component of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information throughout the province.

To date, more than 340 job seekers have benefited from work experience and approximately 100 projects have been funded across the province.


Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae –

“Pebble in the Pond is a really worthwhile project. It gets people work experience, it’s environmentally friendly and, added to that, it has a goal of being a self-sustaining non-profit social enterprise.”

Job Creation Partnership participant Jim Baron –

“I was a teacher for 21 years before my job was terminated. This Job Creation Partnership has given me an opportunity to start my career again. I’m learning new skills and networking with some really amazing people. I can see a brand new career path opening up.”

Quick Facts:

  • In 2014/15, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
  • The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
  • Funding supports 85 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
    • Job Creation Partnerships
    • Labour Market Partnerships
    • Project-Based Labour Market Training
    • Research and Innovation
  • Community and Employer Partnerships are also part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint that helps align training and education with in-demand jobs and provides more support to those who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market or who face unique challenges.

Who is eligible?

  • Businesses
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Municipalities, Agencies or Territorial Governments
  • Bands/tribal councils
  • Public Health and Educational Institutions

Learn More:

More information on Community and Employer Partnerships:

Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre:

Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation:

Media Contact:
Grant Kerr
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
250 387-5635

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