Sixty people on northern Vancouver Island are beginning a 25-week training program to learn the skills necessary to work as aquaculture technicians in the aquaculture industry.
The provincial government is supporting a new Labour Market Sector Solutions project with the BC Salmon Farmers Association, which is designed to help participants secure permanent employment in the aquaculture industry while helping local employers meet labour demands.
“Our government’s top priority is creating and protecting jobs for British Columbians,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. “This aquaculture training program will not only help employers on Vancouver Island address their demand for skilled workers, but it will also provide British Columbians in more remote communities on Vancouver Island the opportunity to train in this industry and find a job.”
The aquaculture technician diploma program is being offered by Excel Career College in three areas of Vancouver Island: Port Alberni, Port Hardy and Campbell River. Aquaculture employers in these areas are in demand for skilled workers, but potential employees have had little access to relevant skills training, as the program is currently offered only in Courtenay.
This intensive program creates additional opportunities for these communities to offer training to local participants, while meeting local demand. As part of the program, participants will be placed with local aquaculture employers for a two-week practicum and will be assisted with longer-term job search activities.
“This project is very helpful to our members and similar businesses, as it enables the development of skill-specific training and creates a pool of skilled people interested in working in the industry,” said Mary Ellen Walling, executive director, BC Salmon Farmers Association. “It’s of particular benefit to people in the smaller geographic regions where we operate. As we anticipate continued growth in the sector, we expect a continued demand for skilled employees.”
The aquaculture technician diploma program is supported by $458,200 in funding through the Canada – British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.
- The objective of the Labour Market Sector Solutions program is to invest in the skills development of eligible participants, while assisting industries/sectors, employers and workers to address labour market needs throughout B.C.
- Participants must be Labour Market Agreement eligible – meaning they are unemployed, non-Employment Insurance individuals, or are employed, low-skilled individuals.
- Over the next decade, British Columbia is projected to have over one million job openings. The BC Jobs Plan will ensure the over $500 million provided annually for labour market and training programs is targeted to meeting regional and industry labour market needs.
- B.C. invests approximately $66 million a year – between 2008 and 2014 – in programs and services that help people get the skills they need to fill job opportunities in regions where they live and study. These programs and services are funded through the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement.