The North Island Students’ Union is concerned students will be limited in their choice of post-secondary eduction, thanks to BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
NISU organizer Nicole Lewis worries programs like those related to the arts could take a hit when post-secondary funding is reallocated to programs for ‘high-demand jobs,’ as per the blueprint, (posted at www.bcjobsplan.ca/getskills/).
While the government has not yet released a list of which programs funding will be re-allocated to, Lewis said she can make predictions about which programs funding will be re-allocated from.
“It’ll be women’s studies, it’ll be environmental studies, it’ll be liberal arts, all sorts of things that they deem as not important compared to, for example oil and gas technology,” said Lewis.
“You learn so many skills through a university degree that aren’t skilled trades but are just as important as skilled trades for the functioning of society and for all sorts of professions.”
Future access to financial aid is another concern. According to the blueprint, government plans to target $40 million per year from student aid programs to student aid grants supporting “occupations that are in high demand.”
Lewis said: “In British Columbia we have the lowest non-repayable student financial aid in the country and so this is going to make it even more difficult for students to access the education that they wish to get … To push students into trades when they could be really gifted in other areas such as medicine or education, I fear that we’re not going in the right direction with that.”