British Columbia is gearing up to take full advantage of the economic and job opportunities resulting from the recent $8-billion shipbuilding contract awarded to Seaspan last month, Premier Christy Clark announced.
"We are working together with industry and other stakeholders to address labour force priorities related to this once-in-a-lifetime shipbuilding opportunity," said Clark. "Establishing this sector-based table is a critical step in ensuring we have the skilled workforce needed to advance B.C.'s shipbuilding and repair sector for the near future and for decades to come."
As part of 'Canada Starts Here: the BC Jobs Plan', the government is establishing a B.C. Shipbuilding and Repair Sector Table that will:
- Confirm the overall human capital requirements associated with the recent $8-billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) contract award.
- Review labour supply projections/sources and existing and planned training programs and initiatives to identify opportunities and gaps.
- Develop a co-ordinated workforce strategy that will, in part, inform post-secondary training investments and programs needed to support the sector.
"A new wave of economic growth stimulated by the shipbuilding contract will result in thousands of B.C. jobs," said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. "Ensuring we have the human resource strategies in place to take full advantage of the opportunities for British Columbians is vital. This sector workforce table will specifically address the labour needs of an expanding shipbuilding industry."
To support Seaspan's successful bid, the B.C. government announced in July it will offer enhanced training and other labour tax credits to eligible marine industry employers. The B.C. government is also providing $550,000 to develop training programs for a new industry-led marine training centre, to be located in Esquimalt.
"The workforce table is a mechanism to co-ordinate several critical human resource activities to ensure the shipbuilding industry has the right people, with the right skills, at the right time," said Doug MacLaren, CO, Resource Training Organization/Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Centre (IMTARC).
"As we move from securing the bid to signing contracts and preparing to build ships our need for well-trained employees will become a key priority. The establishment of this sector table with the commitment of the provincial government will boost our efforts to develop the world class workforce Seaspan needs in the coming decades," said John Shaw, vice president program management, Seaspan Shipyards.
The table will be comprised of representatives from:
- Seaspan and other shipbuilding and repair companies.
- Sector associations.
- Public and private post-secondary institutions directly involved in providing related job training.
- The Industry Training Authority.
- B.C. government ministries that have leading roles in post-secondary training and labour market development.
The table is scheduled to begin meeting in late November. Funding for this Labour Market Partnerships Program will be provided through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement.
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation