Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
VICTORIA – In 2011, the B.C. forest sector employed more than 53,000 workers. In addition to new jobs, as many as 25,000 job openings are expected across the sector over the next decade as existing workers retire. Technological advancements in the industry also mean that the skills and educational requirements of workers are increasing.
Here’s how the government is supporting skills training in the forestry sector:
* A $1.9-billion investment in 2012-13 to support educational programs in British Columbia’s post-secondary system. Institutions throughout B.C. work with provincial industries to ensure that students have access to programs at all levels, whether their career choices require trades certification or a professional degree.
* An investment of nearly $1 million through the Labour Market Sector Solutions (LMSS) program to help the Central Interior Loggers Association (CILA) to deliver the Forest Industry Readiness Skills Training (FIRST) program, which will train people to be log or chip truck drivers and heavy equipment operators, and place them in permanent positions within the sector. The LMSS program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA).
* An investment of $250,000 for a two-year First Nations Forestry Technician Training Program being offered at numerous colleges and universities throughout the province. The program helps First Nations students develop their skills and knowledge of the forest industry with the goal of building capacity for First Nations to be full partners in the sector. The funding provides training and other necessities, including tuition, books, and a living allowance while at school, for up to 10 First Nations students around the province. Five students are registered this year.
* Investments through the Labour Market Partnership (LMP) Program totaling more than $1 million to support the development of human resource strategies to address skills training shortages. The LMP is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. Recent LMP investments in the forestry sector include:
*A $170,500 agreement with the Resource Training Organization to develop a comprehensive strategy for the solid wood sector throughout the province.
* An additional investment of $556,640 to help support the silviculture industry to develop a strategy and provide information and tools to employers and employees to aid in the recruitment and retention of skilled workers.
* An agreement with the Truck Loggers Association for $396,480 over two years to research, plan and develop an industry-wide strategy for small to medium enterprises in the sector.
* More than $1 million in funding for forestry-related Employment Skills Access (ESA) programs, which provide individuals eligible under the Canada-British Columbia LMA with tuition-free, group-based training at public post-secondary institutions to prepare them for entry or re-entry into the workforce. The ESA program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia LMA. Recent ESA forestry programs include:
o Woodland Harvesting – a six-month training program in Port Alberni designed to provide participants with the necessary skills for entry-level jobs in the forestry sector.
o Heavy Equipment Operator, Forest Harvesting – a program designed to train individuals as heavy equipment operators for the forest-harvesting sector. To ensure a smooth transition from training to job placement, the trainees will be eligible to enter the Industry Training Authority (ITA) apprenticeship program upon completion of their ESA training.
* Log Truck Driver – a program designed to train individuals who have no previous experience driving commercial trucks. Students get training on urban and rural roads, including logging roads and highways, and also complete an ICBC air-brake course. The program includes student placement with industry mentors to begin hauling loads and furthering their practical experience.
* New Faller Training – a seven-month course offered through the College of the Rockies that provides participants with the training, skills, knowledge and certification necessary to find entry-level jobs as fallers in forestry, mining, construction and oil and gas industries.
The Canada-British Columbia LMA funds programs and services for people who are low-skilled and for individuals who are not eligible for Employment Insurance. As a direct result of 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, British Columbia and Canada.