Thirty people in Northern British Columbia have begun a five-week training program to learn the skills necessary to work as log or chip truck drivers and heavy equipment operators (HEO) in the forestry industry.
Aimed at helping participants to secure permanent employment, this program is part of a new Labour Market Sector Solutions project with the Central Interior Logging Association.
The Forest Industry Readiness Skills Training (FIRST) program is currently piloting in Prince George, where there is the highest demand for this type of training. It consists of in-class training on topics like forestry operations and safety. Afterwards, students head out to various employers in the province for four weeks of workplace training in truck driving and operating heavy equipment.
Due to the demand for skilled workers in this field, students who successfully complete the program will have the opportunity to continue employment with one of the project's industry partners.
The pilot of the Forest Industry Readiness Skills Training program is supported by more than $494,296 in funding through the Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation -
"Creating and protecting jobs for British Columbians is our government's top priority, and the Central Interior Logging Association's partnership with the forestry industry to address the very real demand for skilled workers is a step in the right direction. Adequate training is the first step towards addressing these demands, and it's great to see that the response from industry and participants has been positive so far."
MaryAnne Arcand, executive director, Central Interior Logging Association -
"It's an exciting time for the forest industry, with all the opportunities ahead. It's great to be able to offer entry-level training and job experience to a new generation of forest workers. Government and industry support for this program has been overwhelming, and was exactly what was needed to move forward and fill the severe labour shortage in the forest harvesting sector."
- The objective of the Labour Market Sector Solutions program is to invest in the skills development of eligible participants, while assisting industries/sectors, employers and workers to address labour market needs throughout B.C.
- Participants must be Labour Market Agreement eligible - meaning they are unemployed, non-Employment Insurance individuals, or are employed, low-skilled individuals.
- Over the next decade, British Columbia is projected to have over one million job openings. The BC Jobs Plan will ensure the over $500 million provided annually for labour market and training programs is targeted to meeting regional and industry labour market needs.
- Government invests over $100 million annually in industry training through the Industry Training Authority (ITA) - the provincial Crown agency responsible for overseeing B.C.'s industry training and apprenticeship system. This investment is almost $33 million (or 45 per cent) higher than it was in 2004 when the ITA was established.
- There are currently more than 32,000 apprentices in the system - more than double the number of apprentices registered when ITA was created in 2004.
- B.C. invests approximately $66 million a year - between 2008 and 2014 - in programs and services that help people get the skills they need to fill job opportunities in regions where they live and study. These programs and services are funded through the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement (LMA).
To learn more about the Central Interior Logging Association, visit their site at: http://cila.ca
For more information on the Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement, visit:
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/
Looking for a one-stop resource for the working world? Visit WorkBC: http://www.workbc.ca/
Government Communications & Public Engagement
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation