Students who face barriers to education and training – such as physical or learning disabilities – are being supported with a range of programs being developed by individual public post-secondary institutions throughout the province.
The Province is providing one-time, targeted investments of $75,000 for 20 public post-secondary institutions. In addition, Vancouver Community College (VCC) has received $275,000 to develop programs and supports for students with disabilities.
“Our government is working with universities, colleges and institutes to ensure that a disability is not a barrier to accessing high-quality post-secondary education,” said Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan, on behalf of Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “With access to education and training, students with disabilities can develop the in-demand skills needed to support their families, communities and the provincial economy.”
With the $75,000 in funding, VCC plans to offer two full-time eight-week programs that will introduce members of the deaf and hard of hearing community to five Red Seal trades programs: auto service technician, auto collision, auto refinishing, cook and baker. The Access to Automotive Trades and Access to Food Services program will help students develop in-demand skills for employment. Students who successfully complete the training will be able to move on to a full-time foundation program.
“People with disabilities may need extra support to be successful at school, or as they prepare for employment,” said Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Michelle Stilwell. “We are investing more than $1.9 million to help public post-secondary institutions continue with programs and develop new techniques to help students with disabilities train for meaningful employment.”
The additional $275,000 that VCC received will go toward training and technology to assist students with disabilities to prepare for post-secondary education. For example, the college has begun offering braille language-development courses for students starting in programs for the visually impaired.
“VCC is always looking for innovative ways to support students with disabilities. Thanks to this funding, we can offer the resources that students need for success,” said VCC president Peter Nunoda. “We are proud to serve 1,250 students with disabilities, the largest percentage of students in the post-secondary system.”
The $1.9 million in 2016-17 builds on investments made in 2014-15 and 2015-16, for a total of more than $4 million.
“As a deaf person, there are no barriers to accessing the outstanding programs and employment opportunities at Vancouver Community College,” said VCC student Vicente P. Teng.
The Centre for Accessible Post-Secondary Education Resources (CAPER)-BC, Post-Secondary Communication Access Services (PCAS), and the Program for Institutional Loans of Assistive Technology (PILAT) each received $50,000 to support public post-secondary schools throughout the province to access assistive technology and services, such as teaching and learning materials for visually and hearing-impaired students.
Supporting learners with disabilities is a priority of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and Accessibility 2024.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx
Accessibility 2024: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
A backgrounder follows.