British Columbia students will get a bit of help to give them an opportunity to connect with skills, technical and trades training opportunities, thanks to $170,000 in Skills Training Access Grants that are going to school districts across B.C.
The Ministry of Education is providing 30 public school districts each with a $5,000 grant to help them develop opportunities to support students who want to pursue skills and trades training and career development. The ministry is also providing nine independent schools with grants worth $20,000 in total.
The grants can be used for the 2015-16 school year to help pay for:
- Relocating students to communities with greater training opportunities;
- Student's room and board, tools, books or work clothes;
- Bringing a mobile training unit to a school;
- Operating small skills training classes; and
- Transportation to work experience or apprenticeship placements.
The program is expanding this year to include the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector, such as coding, and to make all school districts and independent schools – not just rural districts – eligible to apply.
To date, almost 560 students have benefited from grants. School districts also reported improvements to skills training, stronger relationships with post-secondary and training providers, and strengthened relationships with employers, as students are more work-ready.
The Skills Training Access Grant supports B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, a plan for re-engineering the province’s education and training systems - from kindergarten through to post-secondary training and beyond - to ensure students have a full range of training options and are first in line for the careers of tomorrow.
Mike Bernier, Minister of Education –
“Students will reap the benefits of the investment we are able to make in Skills Training Access Grants that are due to our balanced budget and strong fiscal management. These grants will help students access the training, skills and work experience they need to reach their career goals and secure long-term job security in B.C.’s growing economy.”
Cameron Olsen, ACE IT student, Grade 11, Nakusp Secondary –
“The skills access grant allowed me to take an ACE IT carpentry program right at home in my own community. Without the support of the grant and my school district, I would have had to travel over 150 kilometres away, which is just not feasible when you live in a small, rural community.
“It also helped me have access to tools that our school didn’t have before the grant — and we really needed new tools!
“I learned lots about gable and hip roofs and I used that learning when I was contracted to build a doghouse for one of my work friends. I used mathematics to help work out roofing angles. The program inspired me to learn more mathematics. I found I really enjoyed the challenge!”
Terry Taylor, superintendent, Arrow Lakes school district –
“Last year we focused on offering ACE IT carpentry pre-apprenticeships to a small group of students and enhanced tools in our secondary shops for the larger group of students. The grant really made a difference to our learners and increased post-secondary pathways and career choices.
“This year, we are focussed on enhancing coding and electronics learning for our students. Skills Access grants help us broaden innovative practices in our district to better meet the needs of more and more of our learners!”
- Skills Training Access Grants launched in March 2015.
- The grant may be used during the 2015-16 school year.
- Districts are required to report to the ministry the immediate and long-term benefits to local students.
- B.C. will have nearly one million job openings due to retirements and economic growth by 2024.
- Based on the B.C. 2024 Labour Market Outlook, 68% of job openings will be due to retirements and 32% of job openings will be due to economic growth.
- The Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training (ACE IT) program is the in-class component of a high school apprenticeship. ACE IT students are youth apprentices registered with the Industry Training Authority.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: : https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx
BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
Industry Training Authority: http://www.itabc.ca/
Labour Market Outlook reports: https://www.workbc.ca/Labour-Market-Information/B-C-s-Economy/Reports.aspx