The British Columbia government announced today an investment of $210,000 for skills training in high-priority trades seats at BC Hydro.
Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender announced the funding on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, during a tour of the BC Hydro Trades Training Centre in Surrey.
The investment, through the Industry Training Authority (ITA), will fund 224 seats in the power line technician program through to March 31, 2017.
The funding is part of the ITA’s allocation to B.C. post-secondary institutions and training providers to run various training programs throughout the province.
In response to the objectives outlined in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the McDonald report, the British Columbia government has worked in partnership with the ITA to begin building a demand-driven trades training system with funding aligned to specific in-demand trades.
The provincial government invests more than $94 million annually in industry training through the ITA. The ITA leads and co-ordinates British Columbia’s skilled trades system by working with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards and increase opportunities in the trades.
BC Hydro’s Trades Training Centre in Surrey opened in April 2013. The centre is a certified education institution that provides technical and trades training for both BC Hydro and non-BC Hydro trainees. It includes classrooms, lab spaces, workshops, a mock substation and training yards with overhead and underground lines.
BC Hydro uses a 3-D applications tool to allow power line technician apprentices to build, test, troubleshoot and simulate work on equipment, including voltage regulators and transformers. Apprentices can build transformer banks on a “virtual” distribution line, communicate to an instructor for feedback, and practice complex work procedures using the 3-D simulation in the classroom prior to applying their skills in the training yards.
Peter Fassbender, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood –
“British Columbians rely on BC Hydro every hour of every day, so it is essential that our province has sufficient numbers of qualified power line technicians as our province grows. By working with our training providers like BC Hydro, we are giving British Columbians the skills they need for the in-demand jobs of the future.”
Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority –
“There is growing interest in trade careers across the province and the investment announced today will ensure British Columbians have the opportunity to access training in high-priority trades so that they are equipped with the right skills to respond to the job opportunities to come.”
Mark Poweska, BC Hydro senior vice-president, Training, Development and Generation –
“Power line technicians keep the lights on in B.C. As the population grows and the economy expands, we will need more technicians to build and maintain the electricity system. This is a crucial skill set and this funding from the Industry Training Authority will help to train power line technicians working for BC Hydro and private contractors.”
- ITA provides more than 100 apprenticeship training programs in B.C., including almost 50 Red Seal trades.
- There are currently more than 39,000 registered apprentices in the industry training system (including youth) – more than double the 14,676 apprentices registered when ITA was created in 2004.
- B.C. is expecting up to one million job openings by 2025 due to retirements and economic growth.
- Eight of every 10 of these job openings will require post-secondary education or trades training.
- Industry Training Authority: http://www.itabc.ca/
- B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint : https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx
- B.C. Labour Market Outlook: www.workbc.ca/Labour-Market-Information/B-C-s-Economy/Reports.aspx