A four-week training program that allows participants to work and gain employment in the high-demand food processing industry has been extended to allow an additional 120 people to receive training.
The BC Food Processors Work! program is a partnership with food processors in the Lower Mainland with the goal of meeting the industry's demand for workers with basic food industry skills. First announced in July 2012, the BC Food Processors Work! program was initially geared at helping 120 participants over a 20-month period through multiple and continuous intakes. Today, the program is being expanded to 240 participants with the addition of four more intake sessions.
Funded through the Canada - B.C. Labour Market Agreement (LMA), government is investing $227,817 to extend this Labour Market Sector Solutions project agreement with the BC Food Processors Association (BCFPA) to add four new intake sessions to the program: April 2013, May 2013, September 2013 and February 2014. This additional funding brings government's total contribution to Food Processors Work! to more than $441,000 for 2012-14. Courses are being offered at the Maritime Labour Centre in Vancouver.
Participants must be Labour Market Agreement eligible - meaning they are unemployed and ineligible for Employment Insurance benefits and programs, or are employed, low-skilled individuals. Participants receive two weeks of in-class training, followed by an additional two weeks of training to prepare them for their job search and interviews. At the end of the program, graduates receive four individual certifications:
- Orientation to the food and beverage processing industries.
- Introduction to quality assurance in the food processing industries.
- Essential skills and food industry terminology with ESL component.
- National sanitation training.
As a direct result of federal LMA funding, thousands of British Columbians are receiving training that will advance their careers, assist in securing new employment and ultimately improve the social and economic outcomes of individuals in B.C. and Canada.
In addition to programs and services offered through the LMA, government is actively creating awareness and encouraging people to consider careers in the trades and technical occupations through a further investment of $75 million for new capital and equipment under the Skills and Training Plan. This funding complements $500 million in annual investments in employment and skills training programs under the BC Jobs Plan.
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell -
"Government is committed to ensuring that British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for jobs here in B.C. The fact that this program has been extended to more participants is a testament that training and employment programs like this really do help people become quickly employable so they can achieve a stable career over the long term."
Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick -
"BC Food Processors Work! provides participants with practical skills and hands-on experience that will help them take advantage of the many employment opportunities available in the agrifoods sector. Over 30,300 people work in the food and beverage processing industry alone, which is the largest manufacturing activity in the province."
Nico Human, CEO, BC Food Processors Association -
"BCFPA applauds the support provided to the BC Food Processors Work! program by the government of B.C. This crucial financial support has resulted in certified training and jobs for previously unemployed B.C. workers, and will continue to do so. The BC Food Processors Work! Program is a valuable resource for food and beverage processors looking to employ skilled workers and for the people of B.C. to obtain training at no cost that qualifies them for those jobs. This is a partnership that truly works."
- Nearly 34,000 people are employed in B.C.'s primary agriculture and aquaculture activities.
- Under the BC Jobs Plan, the Agrifood Sector Strategy will guide the further development of B.C.'s agrifoods sector, with the goal to increase industry revenues from the current $10.5 billion a year to $14 billion annually by 2017.
- The Labour Market Sector Solutions program invests in developing the skills of eligible participants, while assisting B.C. industries and sectors, employers and workers to address labour market needs throughout the province.
- Over the next decade, British Columbia is projected to have more than 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.
- As part of this annual expenditure, 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.
- The Canada-B.C.LMA funds programs and services for employed people who are low-skilled and for unemployed individuals who are not eligible for Employment Insurance.
- The current agreement will expire on March 31, 2014, and B.C. is preparing to enter discussions with the federal government to renew this important agreement and ensure our province has the skilled workforce required to support long-term labour market needs and economic growth.
BC Food Processors Association: www.bcfpa.ca/home
Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement: www.aved.gov.bc.ca/labourmarketagreement/
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca/
WorkBC skills training programs:
Industry Training Authority: www.itabc.ca
BC Skills and Training Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca/skills/
During the month of November, the B.C. government asked for ideas from citizens on the topic of building a skilled workforce. See what government is doing to put ideas into action: www.bcjobsplan.ca/ideas-to-actions/
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
BC Food Processors Association