To ensure that the forest industry has the skilled workforce it needs in the future, the Province has partnered with the B.C. Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) and the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) on two new Forest Workforce projects that will support the recruitment, identification and skills assessment of qualified workers.
The B.C. government has invested more than $530,000, through the Sector Labour Market Partnership Program (LMP), to BCFSC to lead the Forest Sector Workforce Initiative Competency Standards Project and to COFI to lead the Forest Workforce Initiative Recruitment Project. Today, Minister Bond highlighted these two new projects at the Prince George Community Dinner hosted by COFI. The new LMP projects complement other forest sector workforce projects that BCFSC and COFI have been working on with forest stakeholders, including local employers.
Since July, BCFSC has been working with various forestry stakeholders including local employers and COFI on the Forest Sector Workforce Initiative project, aimed at enhancing worker safety. The goal of the project is to establish the competencies and develop assessment tools that employers can use to evaluate worker qualifications for careers in silviculture, integrated harvesting and resource road building. The project is expected to finish by spring 2018, and BCFSC will pilot the resources to ensure they will be easy to use for employers and employees later.
In addition, forestry stakeholders are also working with COFI to implement the Forest Workforce Initiative Recruitment Competency Standards Project. Funding will be used to research existing career information and to identify gaps as well as materials to help the recruitment of new workers. This project is expected to finish in January 2017.
The two projects are part of the government’s support for the forest sector through the Sector LMP program and align with key actions under B.C’s forest sector competitiveness agenda. Earlier this month, the Province and the BC First Nations Forestry Council (BCFNFC) announced the First Nations Regional Forestry Opportunity Studies Engagement project. This $80,000 project is currently underway and will be completed next January.
The Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training –
“We are expecting up to one million job openings in B.C. by 2025, and B.C.’s forest industry is a key contributor to our workforce, employing more than 60,000 people each year.
“B.C.’s forest industry has a strong workforce. Our projects with the B.C. Forest Safety Council and the Council of Forest Industries will help ensure the industry has the skilled workers it needs in the future, which will not only benefit local communities but our overall provincial economy too.”
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The forest sector is the backbone of more than 140 rural communities and continues to offer quality, family supporting jobs. This funding will help with recruitment of the skilled workforce needed to fill the many positions that are opening up.”
Susan Yurkovich, Council of Forest Industries president and CEO –
“The B.C. forest industry is facing a demographic shift with up to 50 per cent of its skilled workforce retiring over the next 10 years. The industry is hiring approximately 2,700 new employees each year over the next decade, and this investment will support workers to find jobs in the forest sector in communities throughout the province.”
Rob Moonen, CEO, BC Forest Safety Council –
“The BC Forest Safety Council welcomes the Province’s investment into forestry and related training. Assuring skilled, competent and professional workers throughout the industry with uniform training standards, certification of certain occupations and measures to support ongoing competence, was a key mandate of the Forest Safety Accord. This funding allows us to further fulfil this objective.
“Knowledge has value when it’s consistently applied and measured. The products developed by industry during this initiative will enable them to determine when workers are qualified and competent to do the job safely.”
- In 2015, B.C.’s forest sector directly supported 65,500 well-paying jobs – more than 140 rural economies depend on it.
- British Columbia is one of the world’s largest exporters of softwood lumber, and a significant global producer of pulp, paper and bioenergy. It accounts for more than one-third of Canada’s forest products exports.
- Two-thirds of B.C.’s land base, or 55 million hectares, is forested. Despite the impact of the mountain pine beetle in the interior, B.C. forests have millions of hectares of quality commercial tree species – and a fraction of one per cent is harvested annually.
- Through the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the government is reaching out to Aboriginal peoples in their communities to ensure they have the education, training and support they need for B.C. jobs.
BC First Nations Forestry Council’s First Nations Regional Forestry Opportunity Studies Engagement project: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016JTST0136-001658
Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program: www.workbc.ca/sectorlabourmarketpartnerships
BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx
B.C. 2025 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Statistics/Labour-Market.aspx
Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for British Columbia’s Forest Sector: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/forestry/competitive-forest-industry/print_version_bcfs_agenda_final_lrsingles_r2.pdf