By Rich Coleman
Minister of Natural Gas Development
If there is one thing I’d tell young people today, it’s this: The future is in trades.
The growing liquefied natural gas sector will bring thousands of new jobs to our province and we want British Columbians to be first in line to fill these openings.
In 2011, we released the BC Jobs Plan with a commitment to build a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, sector here in B.C. Since releasing the LNG strategy two years ago, we have taken concrete action to give companies certainty when making their final investment decisions.
Our efforts have been successful. Global investors and major companies have come forward with 13 project proposals, nine of which have already received approved export licences from Canada’s National Energy Board. The most recent analysis shows that if five plants are constructed in B.C. between 2015 and 2024, the LNG sector will need to fill 100,000 jobs, including more than 58,000 construction jobs. We need to be ready to meet this demand.
That’s why last month we released the Skills for Jobs Blueprint, a targeted plan to re-engineer B.C.’s education and training system to prepare British Columbians for tomorrow’s labour market.
We know that the labour market of 2018 will look very different from today. In the LNG sector, we know there will be increased demand for natural gas related occupations. For example, we know we will need 1,800 more welders, 2,900 more steamfitters and pipefitters and 10,500 more construction labourers. Most of these jobs will be in the North - either through upstream development in the Northeast on in LNG export facilities in the Northwest.
So we’re redirecting $3 billion over the next 10 years toward training for these high-demand occupations. British Columbia’s apprenticeship system will be re-calibrated, education will be re-engineered and training models will be more responsive to labour market demands.
We’re investing in our educational system, too. Over the next three years, our government will invest $185 million in trades and skills infrastructure and equipment projects including the trades expansion and renewal project at Okanagan College.
By working with industry we’ve created a Blueprint that will create a seamless path from school to the workplace for our young people, provide long-term, well-paying jobs for our communities and deliver a skilled workforce for B.C.’s growing LNG sector.
Over the last year, I’ve been meeting with project proponents in Asia, and here in B.C. The number one thing they tell me is they need skilled workers. In fact, it is so important to the LNG industry that we added a trade-show and a career fair to the Province’s second annual LNG conference happening next week. On the trade show floor, youth will participate in an interactive career experience and have an opportunity to learn more about the opportunities that await them.
These job opportunities are real and they are just around the corner. And we will be ready to take advantage of these opportunities because we have a solid blueprint for skills training.
So for any young people approaching graduation in June and wondering what to do next, I encourage you to check out www.workbc.ca/skills and see how the Blueprint can help you build your future.
Ministry of Natural Gas Development