Government awards contracts for BladeRunners program
Economy, Families Tuesday, March 5, 2013 1:00 PM

VANCOUVER - Government has selected three B.C. organizations and their partner agencies to deliver the BladeRunners program, beginning April 1, so at-risk youth can continue to access the supports they need to gain full-time employment in a range of industries through this highly successful program.

BladeRunners is an employment and skills training program that helps youth aged 15-30 take control of their futures and gain job and life skills in order to obtain sustainable employment. The program has a high success rate: about 75 per cent of participants complete the training and gain employment. Approximately 1,200 youth will participate in 2013-14, about 70 per cent of whom are Aboriginal. Training options in areas such as construction, culinary arts, customer service and multi-media production are encouraging more youth to enter the program.

Funding for BladeRunners in 2013-14 is $6 million - $800,000 from the B.C. government and $5.2 million through the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Agreement. Government recently completed a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to identify new service providers for 2013-14 and beyond. Through the RFP process, government received 68 proposals from five respondents spanning 34 distinct geographic areas in the province.

The Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) will deliver BladeRunners in 29 communities - primarily through local delivery agents throughout the province, from Vancouver, to Port Alberni, to Fort Nelson, and even more remote areas such as Atlin and New Aiyansh. The Ktunaxa Nation Council will deliver the program in the southeast region of the province. The Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA) will deliver the program in Prince George and Nechako Lakes regions. Each organization will work with local community partners to ensure the needs of youth in their regions are being met.

The BladeRunners program began in 1994. Since 2000-01, government has invested nearly $29 million in the BladeRunners program to help about 6,800 young people build their skills and find sustainable employment throughout the province.

Under the BC Jobs Plan and BC Skills and Training Plan, government is actively creating awareness and encouraging people to consider careers in the trades and technical occupations through an investment of $75 million for new capital and equipment to complement $500 million in annual investments in employment and skills training programs.


Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell -

"Government is committed to ensuring that British Columbians are first in line for jobs here in B.C. and that they have the skills they need to be successful in their chosen fields. That's why we're continuing to fund important programs like BladeRunners, which makes a difference in young people's lives by giving them valuable skills they can use to take full advantage of the many opportunities in their communities."

Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Ida Chong -

"The BladeRunners program is making a difference in young people's lives by helping them build both life skills and employment skills. Since its inception, thousands of British Columbians have been given the opportunity to participate in the program and improve their lives."

Tom Galway, director of the BladeRunners program at ACCESS -

"We at ACCESS feel honoured and privileged to once again be selected to deliver the BladeRunners program. On behalf of our 24 partnering service-delivery agencies from across the province, we look forward to playing our part in supporting another 1,200 at-risk youth - youth who will now be given an opportunity to learn vital new skills and become contributing members of B.C.'s labour force."

Peter Sinclair, past participant in the BladeRunners program -

"I would like to thank BladeRunners for what they have given me. I appreciate the influence they have had in my life. They have given me the opportunity to be a part of the positive influence that their organization is having in our community."

Quick Facts:

  • Under the Labour Market Agreement, the Government of Canada is providing the B.C. government approximately $66 million annually until 2013-14.
  • The Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA) funds programs and services for employed people who are low-skilled and for unemployed individuals who are not eligible for Employment Insurance.
  • As a direct result of federal LMA funding, thousands of British Columbians are receiving training that will advance their careers, assist in securing new employment and ultimately improve the social and economic outcomes of individuals in B.C. and Canada.
  • The current agreement will expire on March 31, 2014, and B.C. is preparing to enter discussions with the federal government to renew this important agreement and ensure our province has the skilled workforce required to support long-term labour market needs and economic growth.
  • During the month of November, the B.C. government asked for ideas from citizens on the topic of building a skilled workforce. See what government is doing to put ideas into action:

Learn More:



Ktunaxa Nation:


WorkBC skills training programs:

Industry Training Authority:

Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement information:

BC Jobs Plan:

BC Skills and Training Plan:

Ideas2Actions - results of the Skills4BC online discussion:

A backgrounder follows.

Media Contacts:

Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
250 387-2799

Tom Galway
Director - BladeRunners
250 508-6873


New BladeRunners service providers for B.C. region

The Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services (ACCESS) will deliver the BladeRunners program in 29 of the 34 regions in British Columbia, while other service providers include the Ktunaxa Nation and the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA).

Here is a list of communities and the service providers that will be delivering the BladeRunners program:

  • Arrows Lake, ACCESS
  • Boundary, ACCESS
  • Bulkley Valley, ACCESS
  • Cariboo-Chilcotin, ACCESS
  • Central Coast, ACCESS
  • Central Okanagan, ACCESS
  • Coast Mountains, ACCESS
  • Fort Nelson, ACCESS
  • Gold Trail, ACCESS
  • Haida Gwaii, ACCESS
  • Howe Sound, ACCESS
  • Kamloops-Thompson, ACCESS
  • Kootenay-Columbia, ACCESS
  • Kootenay Lake, Ktunaxa Nation
  • Lower Mainland, ACCESS
  • Nechako Lakes, PGNAETA
  • Nicola-Similkameen, ACCESS
  • Nisga'a, ACCESS
  • North Okanagan-Shuswap, ACCESS
  • Okanagan Similkameen, ACCESS
  • Okanagan Skaha, ACCESS
  • Peace River North, ACCESS
  • Peace River South, ACCESS
  • Powell River, ACCESS
  • Prince George, PGNAETA
  • Prince Rupert, ACCESS
  • Quesnel, ACCESS
  • Revelstoke, ACCESS
  • Rocky Mountain, Ktunaxa Nation
  • Southeast Kootenay, Ktunaxa Nation
  • Sunshine Coast, ACCESS
  • Stikine, ACCESS
  • Vancouver Island, ACCESS
  • Vernon, ACCESS

Media Contacts:

Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
250 387-2799

Tom Galway
Director - BladeRunners
250 508-6873

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