To help address British Columbia’s looming skills gap, the province’s jobs ministry intends to spend the next year focusing on younger students. “Our emphasis in the next year or so will be on moving trades training into the early years,” said Shirley Bond, B.C. minister of jobs, tourisim and skills training following a speech at the recent Buildex Vancouver.
“We want to start earlier in giving kids the kinds of opportunities they need to make their career choices.”
This is thanks to the province’s recent budget which allocated $8 million more for training. Bond said the money will be spent on youth programs like ACE IT which give students the chance to try out various trades. The money will be managed through the Industry Training Authority.
Bond also noted that the budget’s new exemptions for the property transfer tax are incentive for new construction.
“I think the best news from the budget is that we have a growing and diverse economy in B.C. which allows us to do things like invest in skills training,” said the minister, adding that B.C. needs to be prepared to meet the labour demands associated with a growing economy.
The minster was at Buildex to announce a new partnership with the Building Owners and Managers Association of British Columbia (BOMA). Bond told attendees that with more than 250 million square feet of commercial space to manage, it is critical for the commercial real estate industry to have the workforce they need to keep hundreds of buildings in the province running smoothly.
The B.C. government is supporting the BOMA Sector Labour Market Partnership Project, which is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA). This project is the first phase of a potentially broader initiative that will help ensure B.C. has the necessary skilled workforce in the commercial real estate industry.
Key organizations in the industry will work together to identify the number of building operator and other skilled worker positions required to maintain commercial buildings throughout B.C. Some of the labour challenges that the commercial real estate industry faces include: a shortage of qualified workers to hire as building operators, workforce attrition, retirement and an increase of commercial spaces within the province.
The Sector Labour Market Partnership Project helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour market needs and priorities.
B.C. is expecting almost one million job openings due to retirements and economic growth by 2024. Facility operation and maintenance managers, as well as property administrators for residential and commercial buildings are among the top occupations that will be in high demand in the future, said Bond.
Up to 3,900 job openings in facility operation and maintenance managers, and 6,200 job openings for property administrators are expected in B.C. by 2024. The Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched in 2014 to help British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for these job openings.
The blueprint is re-engineering education and training towards a data-driven system so that funding is directed towards jobs that are in demand. Each year, government invests more than $7.5 billion in education and training from early learning programs for the youngest British Columbians all the way through to post graduate. Over the next 10 years, to better align annual investment to meet emerging labour market needs, the government plans to redirect $3 billion of our training investment to focus on skills and programs for in-demand jobs.