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NIC recieves funding for aquaculture technician pilot project

The B.C. government has promised $600,000 in funding for the project.

North Island College has received $600,000 for a new project that will help residents become aquaculture technicians in the future and in turn boost aquaculture in B.C.

Shirley Bond, minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour announced the government funding for a new aquaculture Sector Labour Market Partnership (LMP) project to business leaders at the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook breakfast on Thursday.

“North Island College obviously came to me and talked to me about a couple of things and one of them was aquaculture and how important that is to the economy of British Columbia,” Bond said. “In presenting that idea to us it was about how can we support local employers and make sure that we are looking at not only aquaculture but how it fits in to the agrifoods industry as part of that package.”

The three-year project is led by NIC in collaboration with B.C.’s key seafood industry partners and it includes the development of advanced levels of aquaculture technician training, different training delivery models, prior learning and skills assessment/recognition model and a marketing strategy to promote aquaculture careers to First Nations, high school students and local job seekers.

The project started in February and is expected to finish in spring 2020. The project committee will develop curriculum as well as materials for aquaculture technician training levels 3 and 4. The goal is to pilot the new courses in 2018 and 2019 to 40 students at the Campbell River campus.

In addition to in-person instruction, NIC is also working to create materials to deliver the training online to students, as well as implementing prior learning assessment and recognition processes for the individuals already working in the aquaculture industry to support career development.

The aquaculture Sector LMP project is funded through the Sector Labour Market Partnerships program under the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour-market demands, ensuring that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.