New action plan helps people get skills for in-demand jobs

“Work is transforming, and we have more job openings than skilled people”


THE Province’s new StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan will help thousands of people get the skills they need to succeed in the changing economy and help close the skills gap many businesses are facing.

“Our economy is growing and innovating quickly,” said Premier David Eby on Tuesday. “Work is transforming, and we have more job openings than skilled people. That’s why we are taking action to make sure people are ready to seize new opportunities and build a good life here in B.C., and businesses are able find the people who drive our economy forward and deliver the services we all rely on.”

The action plan is focused on five pillars:

* making post-secondary education more affordable, accessible and relevant to British Columbians;

* helping people reskill to find in-demand jobs so more employers facing current and future skills shortages can find the people they need;

* breaking down barriers so everyone can find a job where they can thrive;

* addressing Indigenous Peoples’ workforce priorities; and

* ensuring people new to B.C. find a career in the field in which they are trained.

“Every action in Future Ready is designed to take on the challenges of today, to build a better future for people and a stronger economy,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “Together, we are building a future in B.C. where people are able to acquire the skills and find the opportunities they need to thrive, and employers are able to find the people they need to sustain and grow their businesses.”

The $480-million action plan is highlighted by a future skills grant of up to $3,500. This grant will cover the cost of training for in-demand jobs. Beginning in September 2023, the grant will be available to British Columbians, making it easier for people to select from more than 400 eligible training opportunities at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. for the most in-demand jobs in areas such as construction, tech, housing and clean energy. For employers, this means some 8,500 newly trained people over the next three years will become skilled and ready to fill positions and address the skills gap.

“I’m hearing from businesses, small and large, that finding skilled labour is one of their biggest challenges,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “That’s exactly what this initiative will address. It will ensure businesses have access to a skilled and diverse talent pool, now and into the future. Good jobs are good for workers and for businesses. By working together, we can build a better future for B.C.”

The Province is also introducing rapid response training, which will support delivery of short-term training that responds quickly to labour market needs and the evolving economy. In addition, government is establishing TradeUpBC, a continuing education hub for in-demand jobs in the trades. Programs will target certified or experienced workers and will provide valuable skills that complement but do not replace apprentice training. Over three years, it’s estimated that up to 6,000 people will benefit from short-term training and TradeUpBC.

In addition, the plan includes measures that will break down barriers to help people enter the workforce and increase the number of students with job-ready skills needed for the tech-related and engineering workforce, early childhood education services, health-care professions, veterinary professions, teachers, construction jobs and other key sectors. Future Ready will also help employers recruit and retain employees to expand and grow.

Key actions include:

* Bringing in 3,000 more tech seats to meet the demand for technology workers in B.C.’s changing economy. This is on top of the 2,900 new student spaces created over the past six years, for a total of nearly 6,000 new tech spaces throughout B.C. since 2017.

* Increasing the early childhood education spaces in the province by 50%, with more than 400 new opportunities for people to learn each year, which means more than 1,300 new training opportunities.

* Expanding skills training for people who are facing multiple barriers to employment. Skills training can provide job skills, certificates to meet job or industry requirements or essential workplace skills.

* Launching Find Your Path, which will boost access to high-opportunity occupations through new one-stop digital services.

* Removing the age requirements for the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program so that former youth in care in B.C. of all ages will have their tuition waived for post-secondary education. This program extension will create opportunities for 50,000 former youth in care in B.C.

* Addressing and recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ workforce priorities through expanded post-secondary training and labour-market opportunities designed to boost the participation and employment security of Indigenous Peoples across the B.C. economy.

* Making it easier for newcomers to Canada to find a job in the field they are trained in. Faster assessment of internationally trained professionals will ease the demand for trained workers in the most critical services and industries.

The Province has also doubled interest-free student loan maximums through $151 million in student financial aid, the first increase to weekly student loan maximums since 2006. As well, the B.C. government has launched the Health Human Resources Strategy with $150 million in funding toward training in health-care professions.


Learn More:

To read the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, visit:

To see a list of available future skills grant education and training programs, visit:

To learn more about TradeUpBC, visit:

To learn more about micro-credentials, visit:

To see a list of available micro-credentials, visit:

To learn more about StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan and actions taken to create jobs and support businesses to adapt and grow, visit:



Action plan supports students, workers, businesses, employers

Over the next 10 years, B.C. will need to fill more than one million job openings with 80% of the jobs requiring people in the workforce to have some kind of post-secondary education and training. The StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan is a plan to equip people to succeed in the changing economy and close the skills gap employers are facing.

StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan at a glance

People seeking post-secondary skills:

* Opening 3,000 more tech-relevant post-secondary spaces to meet the demand for technology workers in B.C.’s changing economy.

* Boosting teacher recruitment and retention in rural areas.

* Expanding graduate scholarships for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and other disciplines.

* Doubling veterinary medicine seats from 20 to 40 on a permanent basis.

* Increase student financial aid with the doubling of student loan maximums.

* Expanding K-12 career-life connections and dual credit.

* Expanding work-integrated learning opportunities at B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions, helping more students access co-op education, internships, clinical placements, service learning and practicums.

* Building more student housing on campus with a new commitment of building an additional 4,000 student beds, adding to 8,000 student beds, for a total commitment of building 12,000 on-campus student-housing beds.

* Delivering the Care Economy Workforce Strategy with an integrated approach to address current and future skills shortages and workforce challenges in the care economy.

People looking to reskill for in-demand jobs:

* Introducing the new future skills grant to provide British Columbians with up to $3,500 to cover the costs of tuition for short-term skills training for in-demand jobs delivered by public post-secondary institutions.

* Introducing the Rapid Response Training Initiative to increase short-term training.

* Establishing TradeUpBC, a continuing education hub for in-demand jobs to grow innovative delivery of post-secondary education with shorter, industry-driven training.

* Increasing skills for certified journeypersons to continue learning throughout their careers.

* Increasing training for forest-sector workers and communities.

* Boosting training for people looking to enter the mass-timber industry, with the development and delivery of comprehensive mass-timber programs.

* Creating career exploration opportunities through short-term work placements in manufacturing for up to 500 youth (ages 16-21) through a new Youth in Manufacturing Initiative.

* Supporting thousands of people to sharpen their online skills with an extension of the popular Digital Skills Bootcamp program.

* Expanding the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator Program to better support unemployed young people (ages 17-30) and people from under-represented communities looking to start a career in the tech industry.

* Introducing a new workplace innovation fund to support businesses implementing innovative new strategies to tackle the current labour-market challenge and better prepare for a changing economy.

People facing barriers:

* Eliminating the age requirement for the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program for former youth in care so all former youth in care, at any age, can access tuition-free education and skills training.

* Expanding skills training for people facing multiple barriers. Supports include employment assistance, counselling, mentoring, job placements, disability support, Indigenous cultural supports, child care, housing, transportation and other tailored supports.

* Adding more Early Childhood Education spaces to help parents and employers by creating 1,390 new early childhood educator spaces over the next three years.

* Creating additional employment opportunities for youth (ages 15-19) with developmental disabilities.

Indigenous Peoples in B.C.:

* Bringing forward several initiatives that will shift post-secondary education and training programs from government-led to Indigenous-led, and expand post-secondary training and labour market opportunities, with an investment of nearly $100 million.

* Training, recruiting and retaining more Indigenous teachers.

* Reviewing racism in post-secondary education as called for by the First Nations Leadership Council. The Province will engage Indigenous partners to conduct an external review of Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in the provincial public post-secondary education system and create a strategy to address the findings.

* Supporting Native Education College in continuing to deliver adult higher education to urban Indigenous learners, allowing culturally safe access to post- secondary programs and supports.

* Providing ongoing core and capacity funding to First-Nations-mandated institutions throughout B.C.

* Funding to develop and deliver First Nations language fluency degrees under a framework developed by First Nations working with public post-secondary institutions.

* Providing funding to First Nations, Métis Nation BC and Indigenous partners for skills training and post-secondary education to meet their labour market needs and economic development priorities.

* The Guardian and Stewardship Training Initiative, which will be co-developed with First Nations. This initiative will provide First Nations with access to funding for training and education, so “guardians” are able to expand capacity, programming and services to meet their self-determined stewardship priorities, and to partner with B.C. in co-management of lands and resources where agreed.

* Take action on the First Nations Children and Youth in Care Protocol, which seeks to improve the educational outcomes and well-being of First Nations children and youth in care, through the expansion of the Tuition Waiver Program.

* Funding to support Métis Nation British Columbia’s exploration of a post-secondary institution model that meets the needs of Métis learners and Chartered Communities.

* Métis language revitalization.

People new to B.C.:

* Streamlining foreign credential recognition to improve processes and remove unnecessary barriers, helping employers find internationally trained workers faster.

* Introducing Find Your Path, a new online one-stop shop for job seekers that will help people discover in-demand jobs, and the education and training they need to land those jobs. Continuing to expand supports for learners in Indigenous and remote communities through Contact North B.C.

* Enhancing the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program to attract skilled international workers throughout the province, supporting thousands of employers each year in addressing labour shortages and prioritizing in-demand skills like health-care workers, early childhood educators and animal health professionals.


B.C. addresses the need to train thousands more workers, faster

Future skills grant

The new future skills grant is a short-term training grant being introduced to achieve two major outcomes:

* make it easier for people to get the skills they need to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow; and

* immediately address B.C.’s urgent and growing need to skill more workers, faster.

The new grant will reduce financial barriers by providing British Columbians with up to $3,500 to cover the costs of tuition for eligible short-term skills training. These training opportunities will give people new skills they need to succeed in either existing professions or a new profession.

Beginning in September 2023, the grant will be available to British Columbians, making it easy to select from hundreds of eligible training opportunities for the most in-demand jobs as outlined in B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook, or as profiled in the Province’s ambitious economic, health-care and climate-action plans. Registration will be open in the summer.

There will be more than 400 training opportunities available including:

* cybersecurity strategy and risk management;

* wildfire crew member essentials;

* construction for energy-efficient buildings;

* Indigenous workplace administration micro-credential; and

* gas appliance service training certificate.

To see a list of available micro-credentials, visit:

Rapid Response Training Initiatives

To support the future skills grant, government is increasing funding to develop and enhance micro-credential programs and establishing TradeUpBC, a continuing education hub for Red Seal and tradespeople to build on their experience for in-demand skilled trades jobs.

Beginning in September 2023, TradeUpBC will provide new reskilling and training opportunities for more trades workers that fall outside of formal apprenticeship training programs, and in a manner that responds quickly to new skills for in-demand and rapidly evolving jobs. New training, developed with input from industries, will be relevant to the immediate needs of employees and employers.

Short-term training will be delivered through approaches that allow employees to continue to work and earn, including online learning, in-person or blended options.

TradeUpBC will offer programs across six major areas of demand that will prepare skilled trades workers to:

* adapt to new technologies and digitization;

* respond to climate change job and skills impacts;

* develop business, managerial and leaderships skills;

* build mentorship skills to more effectively supervise apprentices;

* enhance inclusivity and reconciliation in the workplace; and

* identify support pathways to becoming an educator/instructor.