Twenty-eight underemployed or underskilled individuals are developing their skills by taking forest heavy-equipment operator or log truck driver training, made possible through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement.
Premier Christy Clark made the announcement at the annual Truck Loggers Association convention today.
First Nations, displaced workers, recent immigrants and unemployed youth who don’t qualify for federal Employment Insurance benefits are being given first priority for the training, with a total of $556,705 for three contracts.
The forest heavy-equipment operator training is a collaboration between the Interior Logging Association and the Thompson Rivers University campus in Williams Lake to prepare 16 individuals for job opportunities in the forest harvesting sector. The $311,905 investment will help address a critical skill shortage of heavy-equipment operators recently identified by a cross-industry coalition of forest sector companies and organizations. Forest sector contractors are assisting in the recruitment and trainee selection process to ensure a smooth transition from training to job placement.
Through a $75,830 investment, the Interior Logging Association will be collaborating with the Thompson Rivers University campus in Kamloops to provide specialized training to four individuals as log truck drivers in the southern Interior and Cariboo – a skill that is transferable to transport truck driver, a Top-100 occupation in the B.C. 2025 Labour Market Outlook.
The BC Forest Safety Council will be using $168,970 to partner with Taylor Professional Driving in Prince George and with Selkirk College and Mountain Transport Institute Ltd. in the West Kootenay-Boundary region (Castlegar) to deliver log truck driver training to eight individuals.
Additional contributions, on-the-job training and in-kind support will be provided by forest sector employers, including Ken Ilnicki Developments Ltd., Trev’s Contracting, Moffat Falls Contracting, Rolston’s Lakeside Services, McNeil Logging, Fred Ilnicki Developments Ltd, Windy River Contracting, James Arnold Kunka, and Peterson Pacific Ventures Ltd.
This training aligns with action items in the Province’s recently released forest sector competitiveness agenda, including supporting cross-forest sector workforce planning and skills training through the BC Jobs Plan and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
The Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement supports training programs that provide individuals the skills to enter and succeed in the job market. This year, the Province established a Rapid Response Fund under the Employment Services and Supports program of the Canada-BC Job Fund to support short-term skills training projects that target urgent, emerging labour market needs in B.C. communities. Through a partnership with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training is ensuring skills training is available to address critical skills needs in the forest sector.
The funding is being made available through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement. Through the Canada Job Fund, the Government of Canada provides $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training. Under the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement, the Province receives a total of $65 million per year – its per-capita share of the available funding.
Premier Christy Clark –
“B.C.’s resource industries aren’t just the backbone of Canada’s leading economy – thousands of families depend on them for meaningful and gainful employment. By investing in training for unemployed and underemployed individuals, we are helping them get on a path toward good careers in B.C.’s growing forest sector.”
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“Our B.C. forest sector competitiveness agenda outlines our strategies to maintain a bright future for B.C.’s forest industry. We want to keep forest-dependent communities and First Nations strong and stable and one way to do that is by focusing our training efforts to fill industry labour shortages.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Investing in underemployed and unemployed youth and First Nations will help ensure that there is a skilled workforce for forest sector industries facing a shortage of qualified workers. This is why we created the Rapid Response Fund under the Employer Services and Supports program, so we can provide targeted, short-term training projects in communities to meet their local labour needs.”
Reid Hedlund, chair, Interior Logging Association –
“The Interior Logging Association is teaming up with Thompson Rivers University to help underemployed individuals fill shortages in the forest sector workforce. This type of collaborative effort opens up employment opportunities in rural and First Nation communities and contributes to a skilled workforce in B.C.’s forest sector.”
Rob Moonen, CEO, BC Forest Safety Council –
“Ensuring that all forestry workers are properly trained, competent and qualified to work is critical to ensure a competitive industry and sustainable, safe workplaces. This government-funded training will provide an excellent opportunity for candidates to gain highly sought after log truck driver skills, including safe performance. Integrated safety training ensures not only top operational performance, but gives families greater confidence that their loved ones will return home safely at the end of the day.”
- Through the BC Jobs Plan and the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the Province is working with Aboriginal and First Nation communities to ensure they are partners in economic growth, to strengthen education and skills training opportunities to improve employment outcomes and to drive productivity.
- Provincial economic development programs help rural communities to diversify their economic base, contributing to their strength and sustainability. In parallel, funding contributions to education, skills training and adult literacy programs help ensure British Columbians are able to transition to post-secondary education and are well-prepared for job openings in high-demand occupations.
- Provincial investments in critical infrastructure are essential to attracting and retaining international students, immigrants and post-secondary graduates, who in turn play an important role in the economic development of rural communities by meeting current and future labour market shortages.
Interior Logging Association: http://www.interiorlogging.org
BC Forest Safety Council: http://www.bcforestsafe.org
Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for British Columbia’s Forest Sector can be found at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/competitive-forest-industry
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