Edition: Focus on Skills Nov 2014 newsletter
Welcome to our November Newsletter!
Six months ago the B.C. government released the B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. This is a clear and comprehensive strategy for ensuring students have the education and skills they need to be productive members of our modern economy. Significant progress has been made to re-engineer K-12 education and training since the Blueprint was launched. In this month’s newsletter you will learn about some of that progress. You will learn, for example, about the work that is underway to revise the youth apprenticeship program in BC so that significantly more students enter the skilled trades and complete an apprenticeship. You will also read about three students in School District 62 (Sooke) who are already on their way to an apprenticeship and are helping with the construction of a new school in their district. (Talk about giving back!) Be sure to check out the story about the new online tool for finding available trades training and the one about the grant available to eligible students to help them pay for their classes, equipment, moving expenses, and other associated costs as well. And for new career educators – and the not-so-new but willing to add to their bag of tricks – we have the scoop on a program planning “toolkit” that you will definitely want to check out.
These and other stories highlight some of the progress that has been made in the K-12 sector in the past six months to achieve the goals set out in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. But it's just the tip of the iceberg. For a full update on what's been accomplished so far, be sure to check out the update poster on the WorkBC site at www.workbc.ca/WorkBC. We also invite you to subscribe to a new newsletter dedicated to providing updates on Blueprint action items from across government. Look for the details below.
Our newsletter would be incomplete without important program information, ministry news, and a calendar of upcoming events, so we’ve squeezed all that in as well. There’s a lot to share this month!
Enjoy our November newsletter. And, as always, if you have a story to share for a future issue, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skills Blueprint Delivers Hands-On Experience for Students
A new high school is almost complete in Colwood and a small group of trades students from School District 62 (Sooke) are helping to build it. Education Minister Peter Fassbender toured the new Royal Bay Secondary construction site with them recently to see their handiwork and to outline the significant progress that has been made t date in the K-12 sector to re-engineer education and training since B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched.
A major focus of the Blueprint is to give K-12 students an earlier head-start to hands-on learning. This will help keep more students engaged in their own learning and ready for the workforce or more advanced training when they graduate. This is also in keeping with the BC Education Plan, which aims to promote deeper learning and stronger core competencies by providing students across all disciplines with more opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real world situations and projects.
Construction of Royal Bay Secondary is 90 percent complete, thanks in part to students like Carson Launder, Liam Tauson, and Matt Moreno. Check out their story on the WorkBC site at www.workbc.ca/Job-Seekers.
Career and Skills Training Toolkit
Last fall Ministry of Education staff met with school district career leaders to brainstorm ways to improve career and skills training programs across the province. One of the ideas that emerged from these conversations was a toolkit of all the important things career leaders would need to set up a great program or to make the one they have even better.
We're pleased to announce that the Career and Skills Training Toolkit is now available. This resource consists of the following:
1. Self-evaluation checklist: This checklist will help you evaluate your current career and skills program and what changes or additions you may want to make in the future.
2. Strategic planning framework: Here you will find tips and advice on how to build solid career development education strategy for your district, including developing a vision, goal, and how to take into account things like funding and communications.
3. Tips for operating a successful program: In this section you will discover practical advice on how to build a solid and effective career and skills training program, including:
- how to develop an effective communications plan to promote it using a variety of channels such as email and social media;
- how to create meaningful learning partnerships with organizations in your community;
- district best practices; and
- personnel information such as sample job descriptions and staffing options.
A successful career education program will help students learn from a young age what options and opportunities are available to them in the skilled trades and other careers. To access the Career and Skills Training Toolkit please visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=DD6D059BE21246BB9628759A8C3D0BE9.
Meet Mark Marino
Mark Marino is a busy guy. In addition to being the District Career Supervisor for SD 83 (North Okanagan Shuswap) he was a key participant in the development of the Career and Skills Training Toolkit. Learn more about Mark and his role in the creation of this important resource on the BC b-sides blog:
BC Access Grant
One of the biggest hurdles many students face in getting into a skilled trade is the cost. Training programs can be expensive as can the tools and equipment that some workers are expected to provide on the job site. Tack on the cost of having to move if the training program is out of town and things really start to add up. Now here's the good news: A program called the BC Access Grant has been established to help students with demonstrated financial need who wish to enter an in-demand trade in BC. Qualifying students may be able to get up to $16,400 in grants from the BC Access Grant to study foundation trades training. This is a good thing!
Check out the BC Access Grant web page at StudentAidBC for more details:
Trades Seat Finder
Another way we're supporting students interested in high demand trades is by making it easier for them to find training. Students can now use an online trades seat finder and instantly see where trades training spaces are available in the province. Currently there are waitlists for some courses – particularly for trades foundation courses in the Lower Mainland – while there are spaces available for courses elsewhere in the province.
To find out what training programs are available in BC, and where, check out the trades finder tool at www.tradestrainingbc.ca.
Help Your Students "Find Their Fit" at a Regional LNG Seminar
This fall and winter the Province of British Columbia will be hosting a series of seven LNG seminars across BC. In addition to the speeches and presentations, there will be something students can really get into: WorkBC's "Find Your Fit" Career Experience.
Find Your Fit is an interactive program designed for students Grade 6 and up, allowing them to try the skills they’ll need for different careers in demand across the province. This hands-on program will help students apply real life experiences to their career planning, including those linked to the natural gas sector.
For more information about the Find Your Fit tour, including dates and locations, visit https://www.findyourfittour.ca/.
BC Lions Skills for Life Summit122 Grades 6-8 students from across the province have been invited to the BC Lions’ Skills for Life Summit on Dec. 1 in Richmond. Among other activities, students will tour the Find Your Fit skills and trades stations to get a head-start to hands-on-learning by trying different professions like welding and carpentry. That's a touchdown for everyone!
Career Education Society (CES) 2014 Conference
Mark your calendars, Career Educators: This year's CES Fall Conference will be held November 24-25, 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. The theme of this year's conference is "Catch the Wave of Excellence."
CES '14 is offering a pre-conference tour of the Motive Power Centre of Excellence at the new BCIT campus on Annacis Island for those who want to get an early start. Conference organizers are also pleased to have two highly sought after Keynote speakers for this year's conference, the humorous motivational Jody Urquhart and Kelly J. Lendsay, the Aboriginal Human Resource Council CEO.
Career Education is a hot topic these days in BC and you can find out what is up and coming in careers and career education in a variety of ministerial, industry and business sessions at CES '14. The Monday afternoon 'social' is back and will give you the opportunity to network with your colleagues from across the province and maybe win one of the great door prizes. Visit http://www.members.shaw.ca/keith.ces/Brochure.html to see the full conference schedule.
See you there!
Industry Training Authority (ITA) Youth Day
The Industry Training Authority will be hosting its 9th Annual Youth Day on November 26, 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. The day brings together many key stakeholders including school districts and post-secondary institutions. The theme of this year’s Youth Day is Engaging Employers, Ensuring Successful Transitions. The day will feature a keynote by Madeline Whitaker, Vice President of BG Canada, followed by youth apprenticeship presentations and an employer panel in the morning. Youth programming updates and a best practices session will take place in the afternoon.
For more information on ITA Youth Day please contact Lisa Ayton,Youth Outreach Leader, at email@example.com.
Join the Industry Training Authority Youth Refresh Conversation
Earlier this year the BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint outlined a target to dramatically increase the number of youth apprentices entering the trades and continuing in their apprenticeship. To help achieve this target, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and the Ministry of Education propose to restructure the ITA’s youth programs into a revised Youth Apprenticeship Program. This program will consist of a series of building blocks (exposure, training, work experience) that support optimal pathways for youth apprentices.
A first phase of consultation generated a list of ideas of how this restructuring might be achieved. A second phase of consultation to gather feedback on these ideas and to determine which of them will go forward as recommendations has now begun, and you are invited to participate. There are three ways for you to take part. Each option provides the same information so there is no need to participate in more than one way:
- Join the moderated forum at http://discuss.itayouthrefresh.ca/. Registration is required in order to participate in the forum, and your posts will show your name. This will give you an opportunity to see how others are responding to the ideas suggested in the first round of consultation.
- Take the online survey at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1857881/ITA-Youth-Refresh. This survey provides the same information as the discussion forum, including a description of each idea and the opportunity to comment. It is a confidential space to share feedback.
- Download and review this list of ideas then connect with Jane Worton of Queenswood Consulting Group to provide feedback on the few that really matter to you. The ITA has contracted Queenswood Consulting Group to support this consultation process and Jane is available to receive your comments by phone or email:
- email Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org to leave your feedback or to make an appointment to speak with her on the phone; or
- book an appointment in her online schedule
This consultation process will close on Nov 7th. Your feedback will inform a set of draft recommendations that will be presented at ITA Youth Day on November 26.
Update on Graduation Program
In the fall of 2012, the Ministry of Education and education stakeholders began a review of graduation requirements and the graduation program. A series of province-wide consultations followed to find out what the public thought a revised graduation program might look like. Over a dozen partner groups were also invited to meetings in August 2012 and January 2013 to continue the conversation.
The message we’ve heard from our partners and the public so far is clear: We can, and must, transform the graduation program to better meet the needs of all students and prepare them for our rapidly changing world.
How exactly we do that is now up for discussion, and Jan Unwin, the Superintendent of Graduation and Student Transitions for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Advanced Education, is leading the way. Jan is currently in the field seeking feedback on what a transformed graduation experience might look like.
Over the next few months we will be seeking more input into what a transformed graduation program might look like. All education partners as well as students, post-secondary, parents, industry, employers, and anyone else who is interested will be invited to contribute. Look for more information and updates in future editions of this newsletter. Feel free to email Jan at email@example.com if you'd like to connect with her directly.
Career and Adult Program Changes for 2014-15
The Ministry of Education would like to draw attention to a number of changes that may impact educational programs, at both the 2004 Graduation and Adult Graduation Program levels.
PSI Course Registry Code for ITA Approved Training Centres
A new ministry authorized code has been created for ITA approved training centres: PSITA 12A-J. This new code is listed with the PSI codes is on page 79 in the online Handbook of Procedures and is available in the Course Registry. The creation of this code allows school-age students to receive PSI credit for ACE-IT courses through ITA approved trainers that are not post-secondary institutions or K-12 schools.
Work Experience or Community Service Requirement for Graduation
This policy explains the importance of work experience or volunteer/community service and clarifies the obligation of schools, Boards of Education, and Independent School Authorities with respect to WorkSafeBC coverage. This policy is limited in scope to the Graduation Transitions component of the 2004 Graduation Program.
Clarifying language has been added to the policy to:
- Confirm students have the option of undertaking work experience and/or volunteer/community service to meet the Graduation Transitions requirements;
- Confirm school districts must ensure a Work Experience Agreement Form is completed for Grade 10-12 students undertaking school-arranged work experience and/or volunteer/community service;
- Confirm that pre-work site and/or volunteer/community placement training must be provided for school-arranged placements;
- Provide information regarding the procedures for ensuring WorkSafeBC coverage for students undertaking work experience and/or school-arranged volunteer/community service.
Applied Skills for Students Taking Career Programs
Students on the 2004 Graduation Program are required to have 4 credits in Applied Skills or Fine Arts or a 4 credit combination of both. WEX and SSA courses will now satisfy the requirement if the course is completed after June 2014. ACE-IT courses taken through an ITA approved training centre and reported using the PSITA 12A-J coding also qualify as Applied Skills credits.
Skills Exploration (STX) 10-12
STX is a new Ministry Authorized course developed in partnership with the ITA. It is intended to allow students to explore trades or technology careers and subsequently enrol in Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training (ACE IT) and/or Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA). Although, STX is not a prerequisite for ACE IT or SSA, STX involves learning that explores skills and knowledge in a number of trades or technology areas. STX is intended to assist students in making smooth transitions to either the workplace or an appropriate post-secondary program.
Online resources to support the course can be found at http://www.mytrainingbc.ca/SkillsExploration/index.html.
Removed limits on WEX and SSA* courses for Adult Learners students on the Adult Graduation Program
Previously for the Adult Graduation Program, adult learners (18+ at the start of the current school year) were limited to taking or carrying over (as credit recognition) from their school-age program only one WEX or SSA course. This limitation is now removed.
*NOTE: SSA as a dual credit transition option is only eligible for school-age students (18 years of age prior to July 1 of the current school year).
Red Seal Equivalencies Table
Adult students can apply for credit recognition (through the prior learning assessment process) towards graduation based on the trades training they’ve completed in order to earn a Red Seal Certificate (or equivalent). A sample of Red Seal Certificates and applicable high school courses can be found on the Trades Equivalency webpage:
Documentation required for Prior Learning Assessments (PLA)
The Handbook of Procedures, on pages 52-53, has been updated to reflect the requirement for documentation to support PLAs.
For further information, please contact:
Careers and Skills
Continuing Education and Adult Graduation
Melissa Horner (covering for Janine Hannis until 12/15/14)
InSPIRE In School Presentations Introduce Students to Careers in Skilled Trades & Technologies
Skills Canada BC, in partnership with Discover Skills BC, is launching InSPIRE in school presentations on November 3 as part of National Skilled Trades & Technology week. InSPIRE presentations introduce elementary, middle and secondary school students, teachers, and parents to careers in the skilled trades and technologies via the resources available on the Discover Skills BC web portal.
Skills BC Canada expects to host over 150 InSPIRE presentations throughout BC during this school year. To learn more about these presentations or to register, visit the Skills Canada website at http://www.skillscanada.bc.ca/NewInSPIRE.aspx.
Sign Up for the Latest Updates on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint Action Items
This month’s Focus on Skills newsletter is jam-packed with info on how we’re meeting the goals of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint for the K-12 sector. But other ministries and their partners are hard at work as well. To stay up-to-date on all the progress that is being made we invite you to subscribe to the Blueprint Actions Item newsletter. This newsletter will be published bi-monthly and provide all the latest skills training news from across B.C. government ministries and the Industry Training Authority (ITA). This includes feature success stories, guest columnists, as well as details about events, conferences, and tradeshows throughout the province. To see a sample of what you can expect, go to:
To receive the e-newsletter and have regular action updates sent directly in your mailbox, scroll to the bottom of the introductory e-newsletter and subscribe.
Key Ministry of Education Contacts
Got a question for us about skills and trades? Check our directory below for the appropriate person to contact.
|Tim Winkelmans||Skills education firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Larry Espe||Superintendent, Careers and Student Transitionsemail@example.com|
|Jan Unwin||Superintendent, Graduation and Student Transitionsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Teresa McClintick||Career and Skills Toolkit
|Di Byrne||General enquiries
|Tony Arthurs||Work experience
(until Dec 2014)
(after Dec 2014)
|Stephen Hill||Applied Skills
Skills Exploration 10-12
November 4-5: LNG Regional Seminar and Find Your Fit Tour, Fort St. John.
November 9-10: LNG Regional Seminar and Find Your Fit Tour, Terrace.
November 18-19: LNG Regional Seminar and Find Your Fit Tour, Prince Rupert.
November 24-25: Career Education Society Conference, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver. Contact: Keith Bird email@example.com.
November 26: ITA Youth Day, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver. Contact: Lisa Ayton firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 1: BC Lions Skills for Life Symposium, Richmond Oval.
December 16-17: LNG Regional Seminar and Find Your Fit Tour, Squamish.
January 13-14, 2015: LNG Regional Seminar and Find Your Fit Tour, Nanaimo.
February 3-4: LNG Regional Seminar and Find Your Fit Tour, Kamloops.
Feb-Mar 2015: Skills Canada BC Regional Competitions (13 locations).
Apr 15, 2015: Provincial Skills Canada BC Competitions, TradeX, Abbotsford. Phone: 604-432-4229 Email:email@example.com
May 27-30, 2015: Skills Canada National Competition, Saskatoon, SK.