Residents in three Lower Mainland communities will have a chance to see some rare new attractions in local waters soon, thanks to a partnership with the British Columbia government and the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society.
Government is providing $222,135 for a project that will see at least 16 unemployed Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond residents receive unique work experience as they assist in building three C-15 war canoes, which are rare in Canada and even more rare in B.C. Another participant will gain work experience in marketing and communications throughout the project, promoting the new attractions to schools and other groups, and planning a community celebration.
War canoes are traditional racing vessels that seat 15 people and have been used for decades for races in Canada. The war canoes built in this project will be used at upcoming festivals, such as the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival. It will also be used for youth events throughout the province and be available to other organizations.
The three war canoes will be built from the ground up in Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond. The 16 participants will gain 44 weeks of work experience in woodworking, restoration, varnishing, painting, power tool operation and teamwork. The other participant will leave the project with new experience in event production, management and marketing after educating the public about the history of the canoes.
Funding for the project is provided through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program.
Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of British Columbia’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.
Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provide more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, more than 1,500 job seekers benefited from work experience and more than 270 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“We are continuing to make investments to help people gain the skills to find work through unique projects throughout British Columbia, and this partnership with the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society is a great example of that. I can’t wait to see the participants move on to full-time jobs in the future, not to mention the rare canoes they will be building as part of this project.”
John Yap, MLA for Richmond-Steveston –
“I’m excited for this group of people to learn new, important skills that can lead to long-term employment and I can’t wait to see the finished product in our waters. These projects provide a great experience for everyone involved, with a fantastic track record of helping people gain the skills they need to find jobs, while contributing to important community projects.”
Ann Phelps, general manager, Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society –
“This project builds meaningful life skills and valuable work experience to participants through mentorship, while offering social experiences to all involved. Not only does building a traditional canoe teach skills that participants can add to their resumes, but it also creates cultural connections between mentors, participants and observers who can watch the progress in person and online.”
David Neufeld, project participant –
“Through this project, I’ve been given outstanding instruction and mentorship in wooden boat construction. As a former worker in the tech sector with a visual impairment, I’ve now gained skills, knowledge and confidence to explore new opportunities. This strong, positive community engagement has been amazing and I look forward to seeing the canoe on the water once the build is complete.”
- A war canoe is a watercraft designed and outfitted for warfare and which is found in various forms in many world cultures.
- Throughout history, war canoes were used in Africa and the Americas to transport troops and supplies and engage targets onshore.
- A war canoe holds 15 paddlers, including one coxswain for steering.
- Each June, the Canadian International Dragon Boat Society hosts the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival on False Creek in Vancouver.
- In April 2016, The Province provided Aspiral Youth Partners in Salmon Arm with nearly $180,000 for a similar project that saw nine Chinese teak dragon boats restored by four people gaining work experience.
- In January 2017, the Province announced $164,000 contribution to Aspiral Youth Partners to provide work experience to another four people as they help restore six original Taiwanese camphor wood dragon boats.
- Local WorkBC Employment Services Centres play a lead role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnership and Project Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their communities. Once the right match of client to project has been found, the effort of the WorkBC centre continues by providing financial supports and services to ensure success.
- In 2016-17, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of B.C.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia, as well as the Government of Canada, through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the five components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
- Social Innovation
Who is eligible for Community and Employer Partnerships funding?
- Non-profit organizations
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
For more more about the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival and to see the progress of the boats being built : http://dragonboatbc.ca/
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/