The B.C. government announced today that Okanagan College will receive more than $218,000 for an innovation pilot that will improve training outcomes and employability for apprentices.
The goal of the Okanagan College innovation pilot is to reduce apprentices’ time away from work from 10 weeks to five weeks.
The pilot at Okanagan College is taking place within the level 1 electrician program. The program aims to develop a hybrid model for students, which would include face-to-face instruction, as well as e-learning to deliver the curriculum.
In 2015, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) held regional innovation forums and a provincial conference to bring training providers and industry together to discuss ways to promote more innovation in B.C.’s trades training system.
This year the ITA invited B.C.’s 14 post-secondary institutions and 24 non-public training providers that receive annual ITA funding to submit innovation pilot proposals.
The purpose of these innovation pilots is to test and evaluate novel methods of delivering trades training programs that result in better outcomes for apprentices and their employer sponsors.
Through the pilots, the ITA will promote new ways of delivering training programs to enhance apprentices’ training experiences and enable them to be more effective on the job and better meet industry’s needs.
Innovation pilots are designed to address one or more of the following four outcomes identified by industry:
- Provide more flexible and innovative training that enables employers to keep apprentices at work longer, and allow apprentices to maximize their earning potential.
- Improve employability and sponsorship out of foundation programs.
- Increase access to training for rural and under-represented groups.
- Improve alignment of technical training to the needs of apprentices and sponsors.
In response to the objectives outlined in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the McDonald Report, the B.C. 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.
Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna –
"Creating more online options for students is about making educational opportunities more accessible to more British Columbians. The expansion of e-learning at Okanagan College and at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. will open new doors, and make it possible to take the first step toward a rewarding career."
Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country –
“The innovation pilot at Okanagan College aims to cut in half the amount of time apprentices are away from work, which had prevented many apprentices from attending training. B.C., is a world leader in the delivery of education and skills training, and programs such as this are necessary to keep us moving ahead.”
Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission –
“It is important that we find new and effective methods of delivering trades training to our students, and this pilot program at Okanagan College is a great example of how it’s done. Online learning is a valuable tool that will become even more important for career-minded women and men in the Okanagan.”
Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority –
“Our goal is to provide world-class apprenticeships for British Columbians and the innovation pilots put trades training in this province ahead of the curve in a very unique way. We are excited to launch these pilots and anticipate great results and ideas, which we will build upon in the future to ensure that B.C.’s trades training is responsive and relevant to the changing needs of industry.”
Steve Moores, dean of trades and apprenticeship, Okanagan College –
“We are extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to develop this innovative pilot. We believe this hybrid model, with collaboration of and evaluation by industry partners, will provide flexibility of delivery without compromising learning outcomes and industry standards.”
- ITA provides more than 100 apprenticeship training programs in B.C., including 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: https://www.workbc.ca/Labour-Market-Industry/B-C-s-Economy/Reports.aspx
ITA innovation profiles in B.C.: http://www.itabc.ca/innovation-trades