Young at-risk and unemployed British Columbians who are looking for help starting a career will receive a boost, thanks to a multi-year government investment in the BladeRunners program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected the employment opportunities of young British Columbians,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “The BladeRunners program is making a difference in the lives of young people by giving them access to the valuable life and employment skills they need to begin their careers and play a role in B.C.’s economic recovery.”
BladeRunners is an employment and skills training program empowering youth aged 15 to 30 to take control of their futures, gain valuable job and life skills, and find new employment opportunities in areas such as construction, culinary arts, health care, retail and hospitality and office administration. Services and ongoing supports, such as job coaching, work experience, on-the-job training and life-skills training, are offered to more than 4,000 unemployed, at-risk youth by community organizations, Indigenous-led organizations and First Nations throughout B.C.
BladeRunners programs delivered throughout B.C. provide a variety of skills training options, such as:
- Raising Roofs: Administered by Kopar Administration, Ltd., Raising Roofs is a 20-week supported skills training program in Prince George. Participants gain the certifications required by the construction industry to assist with their future career endeavours.
- Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS): Works with 15 Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies throughout the province to provide training and certification for a variety of industry-specific skills, as well as life skills, job readiness, work experience/on-the-job training, job coaching and ongoing supports.
- John Howard Society of the Pacific (JHSP): Operating in the Cariboo, Lower Mainland/southwest, North Coast and Nechako, northeast and Thompson Okanagan economic development regions, JHSP offers programs such as skills enhancement training, safety certifications and life-skills workshops.
With $18.6 million over three years provided through the Canada-B.C. Workforce Development Agreement, the Province is supporting 11 organizations to serve more than 50 communities throughout B.C.
“ACCESS has managed and delivered the BladeRunners program for over 20 years,” said Lynn White, president and chief executive officer, ACCESS. “During this time, thousands of at-risk youth have been guided and supported to complete the program and move forward on their path to success. We are honoured and humbled to have been a part of their journey.”
- The funding will benefit more than 4,000 participants, 65-70% of whom are expected to be Indigenous.
- The BladeRunners program began as a pilot project in 1994 to address the needs of at-risk youth on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
- Approximately 80% of jobs in B.C. require some form of post-secondary education.
BladeRunners programs are available in communities throughout the province. Youth between the ages of 15 and 30 facing multiple barriers to employment are encouraged to visit the BladeRunners website: https://www.workbc.ca/employment-services/labour-market-programs/bladerunners-program.aspx
To view the funding recipients, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/7-23_BladeRunners.pdf