Victoria – Ministers Shirley Bond and Amrik Virk, celebrated the winners of the 2016 Skills Canada BC (SkillsBC) provincial competition.

This year marks 22 years of connecting K-12 and post-secondary school students with skilled trades and technology careers through educational programming. The competition showcased the skills of over 500 students as they competed for a gold medal and a chance to travel to the national competition in New Brunswick as part of Team BC in June. 220 students were successful in achieving medals at the provincial level.

With over 55 contest areas, the event provided the 6,000 visiting students with many career-discovery opportunities. Students were able to watch their peers compete and participate in hands-on activities. In addition, industry and education experts were on hand, providing students with valuable career information, demonstrations and the opportunity to network at the Pathway to Careers Fair—the largest trades and technology career fair in the province. At the event, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and SkillsBC facilitated the 4th Annual Skilled Trade and Technology Conference for Women, giving young girls a better understanding of job opportunities in the skilled trades.

Each year SkillsBC, in coordination with 600 volunteers, provides over 25,000 youth with mentorship and hands-on trades and technology experiences through regional and provincial skills competitions, the InSPIRE program (in school presentations), Cardboard Boat Races, and other school outreach programs.

With almost one million jobs expected in B.C. by 2024, the demand for skilled workers is growing significantly. The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse knowledge-based economy. The 10-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.

Through the Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the Province is also working to re-engineer B.C.’s education and training programs towards a data-driven system that focuses investment on the jobs that are in-demand and ensuring that B.C. has the skilled workforce it needs now and in the future.

Quotes:

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –

“We are expecting almost one million job openings in B.C.by 2024. The Skills Canada competitions serve to showcase our students’ skills and talent, while also raising awareness of the various careers available in our province. Congratulations to the participants and I wish our students continued success in the future.”

Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Information and Citizen Services—

“There has never been a better time to choose a career in trades and technology, with nearly one million job openings expected in the next nine years. The Skills Canada competition complements our recently released #BCTECH Strategy, which supports the K-12 and post-secondary skills development for a strong and vibrant future.”

Kelly Betts, president of Skills Canada BC—

“These events give students studying trades and technology at the secondary and post-secondary level the opportunity to compete against the best of the best in their region, in the province and even in Canada. They give students who may have never held a hammer the opportunity to discover these skills first hand through experiential learning at these events.”

Amber Papou, executive director of Skills Canada BC—

“The demand for skilled tradespeople and technologists in B.C. is growing rapidly with new developments in the province, combined with the onslaught of baby boomers retiring, skilled labour demand has never been greater. This makes the work that SkillsBC does even more critical.”

Rod Maier, vice-president Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Canada—

“Kitimat LNG is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of Skills Canada BC and the Provincial Skills Canada British Columbia Competition, providing funding that helps young people in the province learn more about the exciting and rewarding careers in skilled trades and technology that are critical to B.C.’ s future, including the emerging LNG industry.”

Phil Venoit chairman, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers-BC Provincial Council—

“Construction is a highly competitive market that can bring out the best in every worker, it’s often a fine balance of strength, stamina, strategy and smarts, and the SkillsBC competition is the venue to demonstrate this. It’s an opportunity for our apprentices to show off their skills, as well as gain a sense of camaraderie amongst their peers.”

Gary Herman, CEO Industry Training Authority—

“Interest in trades careers is growing amongst youth and the SkillsBC provincial competition is a great place for them to showcase their passion and skills. The Industry Training Authority is proud to be a supporter of SkillsBC as a part of our focus on increasing youth engagement and we look forward to the impressive results at the competition.”

Susannah Pierce, External Affairs director, LNG Canada—

“Trades and technology are key to the future success of the LNG industry in British Columbia – bringing this understanding to young people and making it fun is a great way to inspire the future skilled workforce. Congratulations to everyone participating in this year’s SkillsBC provincial competition.”

Blair Qualey, president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC—

“We are pleased to be working with Skills Canada BC through their provincial competition to help students demonstrate their trades and technology skills.  Encouraging young people to focus on their trades and technology skills will support the long-term health of our economy, our province and future generations. In the next decade, the auto industry is projecting up to 20,000 job openings, providing tremendous opportunity for these young people to have rewarding careers in communities across British Columbia.”

Quick Facts:

  • Each year Skills Canada British Columbia works with more than 12,000 B.C. students.
  • Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national not-for-profit organization.
  • Since 1994, Skills Canada British Columbia (SkillsBC) has operated as a provincial charitable organization, working with industry, educators, government and labour.
  • Unique programming allows Skills BC to position itself as an early influencer—offering youth in grades K – 12 and in post-secondary, safe and engaging environments in which to explore trade & technology careers.
  • Based on the latest Labour Market Outlook, B.C. is expecting up to one million job openings by 2024 due to retirements and economic growth.
  • 8/10 of these job openings will require some sort of post-secondary education or trades training.
  • The technology sector directly employs more than 86,000 people, and wages for those jobs are 60% higher than B.C.’s industrial average.
  • B.C.’s 9,000 technology companies combined generated $23.3 billion in revenue in 2013.

Learn More:

Full list of Skills Canada BC 2016 Provincial Competition Winners: http://ow.ly/10FQOv

BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills

#BCTECH Strategy: www.bctechstrategy.ca

Skills Canada British Columbia: www.skillscanada.bc.ca

Skills/Compétences Canada: http://www.skillscanada.com/

British Columbia 2024 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Statistics/Labour-Market.aspx

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