By 2022, British Columbia can expect one million job openings from retirements and new economic growth. About 43 percent of these jobs will require a college education or apprenticeship training.  The once-in-a-generation opportunity of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as other sectors of our growing natural resource economy, means that skilled tradespeople in particular are going to be in very high demand.

In fact, in just a few short years we will reach a tipping point where more workers will be leaving the workforce than entering it. For B.C. youth, this is a fantastic time to be considering a career in the skilled trades.  High salaries and job security, coupled with the opportunity to earn while you learn are just some of the attractive benefits of entering an apprenticeship.  

Get a head start

There are also many pathways to begin an apprenticeship while still in high school, so when students graduate they are already well on their way to completing their formal certification and entering the workforce. For some students, this kind of hands-on learning can make all the difference in finding the right fit in their schooling and future careers.    

"Giving youth these options and exposing them to all the possible career paths available is critical to their future success."

Giving youth these options and exposing them to all the possible career paths available is critical to their future success.  That’s why we created B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.  The Blueprint is an action plan to re-engineer our education system — from kindergarten straight through to post-secondary training and beyond — to ensure B.C. youth are first in line for jobs of the future.

Why a career in the trades might be right for you. Video: Canadian Apprenticeship Forum

Through the Blueprint, government is expanding opportunities for youth who want to become apprentices.  In fact, over the next three years government will redirect $185 million for trades training infrastructure and equipment alone.  

Growing new jobs

Already this year we have delivered on our commitment to improve access to training by investing $6.8 million to create over 1,400 new trades training seats that will be available to students at 14 public post-secondary institutions as early as September.

In partnership with B.C.’s Industry Training Authority (ITA), we are also expanding programs for elementary and high school students to explore the trades at an earlier age while earning credits toward graduation.  By year-end, 15 ITA apprentice advisors will be in place around the province to help apprentices and employers better navigate our apprenticeship system.
We are also working with provinces and territories across the country to implement apprentice mobility agreements to make it easier for apprentices to work anywhere in Canada to gain their certification.

A change in perspective

All of these actions mean little, however, without a fundamental cultural shift that recognizes the value of apprenticeships as an attractive career choice, on par with more general academic studies.  

Accomplishing this means providing educators, counsellors, students and their families with the best information possible on labour market trends and all of the many options available in the trades.  And that’s exactly what we aim to do.

Our Blueprint commitment is to ensure that data is driving decisions and that training — in the trades or other occupations — is fully aligned with the current and future demands of the labour market.  By working closely with our partners in education and industry, I’m confident that B.C.’s youth will have the tools and resources they need to successfully navigate their educational and career journey, wherever that journey takes them.