The British Columbia government has formed a partnership with the United Steelworkers Union (USW) to pilot new skills training for its members in the north, with a focus in the areas of forestry and mining.
“Forestry and mining are key sectors in the B.C. jobs plan and this new partnership will allow us to better reach out to the workers in these industries and provide essential skills upgrading,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell. “This new pilot is an important step in meeting the challenge of ensuring we have the skilled workers needed to fill existing and future job opportunities in northern B.C.”
According to a 2003 study, more than one-half of the forestry and mining workers in northern B.C. have low literacy and numeracy levels, said the provincial government. The pilot project will enable the union to offer supports in key areas such as language and literacy training, technology upgrades, numeracy and document use. The essential skills training will be provided by the union through local service providers.
This initiative is part of the commitment made in the Canada Starts Here: the BC Jobs Plan to enhance training opportunities to meet regional labour market needs. A total of $2.9 million is being provided for this Northern Skills Training Pilot over the next 18 months, said the government.
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