Province doles out funds for NIC apprenticeship programs

$86,000 towards a pilot project

  • Dec. 9, 2016 9:00 a.m.

The Province announced Monday that North Island College will receive $86,000 for an innovation pilot that will improve training outcomes and employability for apprentices.

The goal of the NIC innovation pilot is to remove barriers to employment for students who graduate from NIC’s foundation programs.

The pilot at NIC focuses on the integration of employability skills, workplace mentorship and formal work experience for all foundation students in the electrical, heavy mechanical, welding, metal fabrication and carpentry programs.

“This is an opportunity for trades students to strengthen career outcomes as they build their professional reputation and establish working relationships with employers and potential sponsors,” said Cheryl O’Connell, dean of trades and technology, North Island College. “For employers, it’s an opportunity to meet prospective employees and be instrumental to their trades education.”

In 2015, the Industry Training Authority held regional innovation forums and a provincial conference to bring training providers and industry together to discuss ways to promote more innovation in B.C.’s trades training system.

This year the ITA invited B.C.’s 14 post-secondary institutions and 24 non-public training providers that receive annual ITA funding to submit innovation-pilot proposals.

The purpose of these innovation pilots is to test and evaluate novel methods of delivering trades training programs that result in better outcomes for apprentices and their employer sponsors.

Through the pilots, the ITA will promote new ways of delivering training programs to enhance apprentices’ training experiences and enable them to be more effective on the job and better meet industry’s needs.

“Our goal is to provide world-class apprenticeships for British Columbians and the innovation pilots put the trades training in this province ahead of the curve in a very unique way,” said Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority.

“We are excited to launch these pilots and anticipate great results and ideas, which we will build upon in the future to ensure that B.C.’s trades training is responsive and relevant to the changing needs of industry.”

Innovation pilots are designed to address one or more of the following four outcomes identified by industry:

* Provide more flexible and innovative training that enables employers to keep apprentices at work longer, and allow apprentices to maximize their earning potential.

* Improve employability and sponsorship out of foundation programs.

* Increase access to training for rural and under-represented groups.

* Improve alignment of technical training to the needs of apprentices and sponsors.

“Innovation pilots at North Island College and other B.C. schools will be extremely valuable as we search for new and effective ways to deliver trades training to British Columbians,” said Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley.

“The world is changing, so it is essential that we change with it by constantly bringing new ideas and creative methods for preparing our trades students and apprentices for the workforce.”

In response to the objectives outlined in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the McDonald Report, the B.C. government has worked in partnership with the ITA to begin building a demand-driven trades training system with funding aligned to specific in-demand trades.

–Government of BC