PRINCE GEORGE – The Government of British Columbia is investing $72,000 to create 32 seats at College of New Caledonia so students can get hands-on experience in a variety of trades occupations that support B.C.’s diverse, strong and growing economy.

“Over the past year, through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, our government has worked to re-engineer post-secondary education and training to prepare students with the skills needed to get long-term, well-paying jobs,” Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said. “The Trades Discovery program will give students hands-on experience in a number of in-demand trades, allowing them to consider future career options.”

“Our government is working to equip people with the skills they need take part in in our growing economy,” Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris said. “The Trades Discovery Program will expose students to a variety of trades and help them make more informed decisions about their chosen trade.”

The allocation is part of the $727,500 to create 326 Trades Discovery seats at 12 public colleges, universities and institutes. The funds support B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint that government launched one year ago today.

Trades Discovery provides students experience in construction, mechanical, transportation and oil and gas sectors over 10-12 weeks. Following the program, students can choose to enrol in a trades foundation program or pursue an apprenticeship in a trade of their choice.

The provincial government launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint in April 2014 to re-engineer education and training for in-demand jobs. The Blueprint uses data to drive decisions and shift training and education to better match labour market needs and priorities.

Earlier this week, government announced $6.1 million for 1,429 additional critical trades seats in 14 public post-secondary institutions throughout the province to reduce wait times for students entering trades that are in demand by a range of industries. CNC received $330,496 for 64 critical trades seats in 2015/16, and $274,000 for 72 critical trades seats as well as the $375,028 for trades equipment in 2014/15.

B.C. expects one million job openings by 2022. More than 78% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, and 44% of jobs will be in skilled trades and technical occupations. Approximately 13% of the one million projected job openings are for in-demand trade occupations in B.C.