VICTORIA – The B.C. government has created over 3,000 seats for skills training in colleges and universities throughout the province with an $18.7-million investment.

The BC Jobs Plan funding is being provided to 17 colleges and universities under the Employment Skills Access (ESA) program. The funding will deliver skills training in programs varying from nautical training to forestry boot camp to health-care assistant to heavy equipment operators to mining technicians. The ESA is funded within government’s existing fiscal plan.

Through ESA, eligible British Columbians are provided with tuition-free, group-based training at public post-secondary institutions to prepare them for entry or re-entry into the labour force. ESA skills training programs are primarily focused on preparing participants for entry-level employment in industries, sectors or occupations that are currently experiencing or are projected to experience labour or skills shortages.

Training programs are expected to be at least three weeks in duration, to a maximum of 12 months, with an emphasis on programs that provide participants with provincially or industry-recognized credentials. For occupations with established provincial standards for training and certification, training programs must follow and meet those standards.

Participants in programs must be unemployed individuals who have not established an Employment Insurance claim in the past three years, or five years in the case of maternity/parental leave.
The Employment Skills Access Initiative is funded through the Canada – British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA). As a direct result of federal funding through the Canada – BC Labour Market Agreement, thousands of British Columbians are receiving training that will advance their careers, assist in securing new employment, and ultimately improve the economic outcomes of individuals, the province and Canada.