Government funds forestry training in Revelstoke through Okanagan College

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File photo: A hoe-chucker and processor at work. Photo: Bryce Borlick

In a Mar. 22 media release, the B.C. government announced nearly three quarters of a million dollars in funding for forestry training programs, including here in Revelstoke:

The Province is committing $749,872 to help unemployed people find forestry jobs through a paid training opportunity with Okanagan College.

The funding will give up to 16 people in Revelstoke and the Shuswap areas 16 weeks of paid training in the forestry sector and 10 weeks of on-the-job work experience with local forest operators to prepare them for full-time employment. Once the participants have completed the training, they will be better suited to find full-time work in the industry. The project is being carried out in two groups of eight Employment Insurance-eligible participants.

Under the guidance of Okanagan College, participants in the project will be trained in areas such as tree falling, machine work, forestry technology, and risk management, as well as personal employment attributes including conflict resolution, interviewing and job search skills. The project is part of the BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which is putting British Columbians first in line for the nearly one million job openings expected by 2025.

During their 10-week job placement, participants will gain hands-on experience in various forestry trades to gain first-hand knowledge of working in the industry.

In a 2015 labour market survey of Revelstoke funded by the Province, forestry employers showed a need for trained workers to step into open positions. This project will help employers fill those jobs. Local employers have partnered to provide job-placement opportunities, such as Sk’atsin Resources, Schiller Contracting, Adams Lake Indian Band and Two Guys Logging.

Funding for the project is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream, of the Employment Program of British Columbia’s Community and Employer Partnerships program, which funds projects that increase employability and share labour-market information.

Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provide more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. They help build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.

To date, more than 1,500 job seekers benefited from work experience and more than 270 projects have been funded throughout the province.

Job training is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. It builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.

For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP

Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca