Parties fixated on skills training

PARTIES in the May 14 B.C. election have highlighted their commitments to improve post-secondary skills training. The province faces a wave of baby boomer retirements, shortages in trades and industrial jobs, an increase in temporary foreign workers and under-employment of some university graduates.

Trades and apprenticeship training is a major point of dispute. The B.C. Liberal-created Industry Trade Authority has increased apprentices from 16,000 in 2001 to 34,000, but the NDP counters that percentage completion rates have declined.

Independent Contractors and Businesses Association president Phil Hochstein argues that with many more young people in the apprenticeship system, the number of graduates is at a record level.

Platform highlights:

• The B.C. NDP's biggest commitment is $100 million for a post-secondary student grant program, to be funded by a capital tax on large financial institutions. NDP leader Adrian Dix also promises $40 million new investment for skills training, to "increase apprenticeship training spaces, shorten completion times and improve completion rates."

The NDP notes that while the B.C. Liberal government touts its jobs plan in ads, its February budget projects a $42 million cut to the advanced education ministry over three years.

• The B.C. Liberals highlight a $75 million commitment for upgrading training facilities and equipment, on top of the $500 million annual skills training budget.

The B.C. Liberals emphasize plans to expand vocational training in high schools, and encourage partnerships between high schools and employers. Their platform also promises to develop "relevant training programs" for B.C. residents to work in the LNG industry.

• The B.C. Conservatives promise to "increase training and apprenticeships in the trades and technical sector," but don't specify how. They also promise to increase on-line learning capabilities in colleges and technical institutes, and give qualified B.C. students priority for admission to the province's post-secondary institutions.

• The B.C. Green Party promises to eliminate interest on student debt over five years, "immediately" cut tuition by 20 per cent, create a grant program for low-income students, increase core funding for colleges and universities by $200 million and provide training for laid-off workers.

(The above is one of a series comparing party platforms for the May 14 provincial election.)

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Emission limits set for B.C. LNG producers
Four arrested in Langley City home invasion
Corn shuckers show up en masse to break record in Chilliwack
Election 2014: Social media and the Chilliwack election
Surrey enforcer killed on the weekend
MLA Corrigan hosts holiday open house
Woman killed in accident with semi in Surrey
Election 2014: White Rock mayoral candidate likens TV debate to ambush
Election 2014: Grant Ward seeking fifth term on Langley Township council

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 17 edition online now. Browse the archives.