The local agriculture sector will be getting a boost as five people are getting work experience as farm workers in both rural and urban settings, thanks to nearly $120,000 in government Community and Employer Partnership funding.
Over the course of the one-year project with the Cowichan Green Community organization, the workers will receive training in farming and agriculture. This includes learning about animal care, greenhouse operations, soil fertility, fruit tree planting and pruning, seed production, weed management, crop planting and rotation, harvesting and bee keeping. They will also receive organic master gardener certification from Gaia College.
B.C.’s agrifoods sector is one of the most diverse in Canada, producing about 300 commodities from land and sea. The sector is also a key economic driver that generates close to $12 billion a year in provincial revenues.
A second partnership is also taking place in the Duncan area. The Town of Lake Cowichan is receiving more than $37,300 in government funding for six people to get construction work experience by fixing up the town’s downtown core. This includes rebuilding the public washrooms in Central Park, which will provide better accessibility for people with disabilities. New picnic tables will also be built for the park. The 32-week project wraps up at the end of January.
These projects are funded through the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which was introduced in April 2012 as part of the Employment Program of BC.
Government is taking action to address the rapidly changing labour market. Government created the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint to ensure more British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for in-demand jobs in B.C.'s diverse, strong and growing economy.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, the program has helped more than 800 job seekers benefit from work experience and funded nearly 180 projects throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“Agriculture is a valuable industry in British Columbia. This Community and Employer Partnership will provide meaningful work experience and skills to individuals so they can work in agriculture and on farms.TheTown of Lake Cowichan partnership will also give people work experience in carpentry, while benefiting the community with new wheelchair accessible washrooms.”
Rosalie Sawrie, project manager, Cowichan Green Community –
“Cowichan Green Community is honoured to be offering the Cowichan Agriculture Training project with support from the Project-Based Labour Market Training funding. This project is going to be extremely beneficial not only for the participants, but also for our local agriculture sector. By providing such in-depth training related to many facets of farming and growing food, we will be helping to increase food production and food security for the entire community. The benefits of having the participants engaged in this type of project is already becoming apparent and we feel confident that we will be able to meet, if not exceed, all the projected outcomes.”
Mike, Cowichan Agriculture project participant –
“I’m excited for the opportunity to meet and learn from local farmers and help with the Cowichan Valley's food security.”
Jane, Cowichan Agriculture project participant –
“I’m looking forward to meeting the farmers and I’m excited for the hands-on training. This will be an experience of a lifetime. I’m so grateful!”
Dalton Smith, manager, Cowichan Lake Education Centre –
“The team of participants we have on the program have already contributed greatly to our objective of constructing a public washroom in the central area of our small community.”
Rick, Town of Lake Cowichan project participant –
“This project is helping me to acquire new skills that will give me opportunities for future employment. I'm learning new skills every day.”
- In 2015/16, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible?
- Non-profit organizations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
For more information on Cowichan Green Community: cowichangreencommunity.org
To learn more about the Town of Lake Cowichan: www.town.lakecowichan.bc.ca
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint:www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan:www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/