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Aligning funding for student spaces with in-demand jobs

Thousands of student spaces have been newly targeted over the last three years as operating grants for public post-secondary institutions are aligned with education and training for a variety of in-demand occupations.

Targeted operating grants now account for approximately 22% of the $1.86-billion budget for public post-secondary institutions, including an additional $90 million in 2016-17. The goal is to target about 25% of operating grants by 2017-18 to education and training that supports in-demand occupations as part of the commitment made in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.

“It is important that British Columbians have the skills needed to fill the one million job openings expected by 2025,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “Our government has a data-driven plan to align education and training to jobs in demand, from tech to trades through to health.”

Before  2014-15, about $190 million was targeted every year toward mainly health-related programs such as medicine, nursing and midwifery. This represented approximately 10% of provincial operating grants to universities, colleges and institutes. Funding targeted for programs that support high-demand jobs from professional occupations to social services through to technology will increase to about 25% of annual operating grants by 2017-18.

“The immediate priority is to put British Columbians at the forefront of opportunity in our burgeoning tech sector," said Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Minister Amrik Virk. “By aligning education and training with in-demand occupations we’re ensuring that businesses get the talent they need and British Columbians are ready to enter the marketplace as soon as they finish school.”

“Talent is mission critical for the growing and diverse tech sector in British Columbia – it is certainly no longer a niche industry,” said Copperleaf CEO Judi Hess. “It is important that British Columbians can not only compete, but also profit from a rapidly changing world by having the education and skills that tech employers are looking for.”

Programming is being aligned with the top 100 occupations listed in the British Columbia 2025 Labour Market Outlook as well as priority health occupations, regional labour priorities, and programs for Aboriginal people and people with disabilities.

Examples of how post-secondary education institutions have aligned education and training in 2016-17 to labour market demand include:


  • British Columbia Institute of Technology – computer systems technology.

  • Camosun College – environmental technology.

  • College of New Caledonia – applied science (engineering) certificate.

  • College of the Rockies – adventure tourism business operations.

  • Okanagan College – computer information systems.

  • North Island College – interactive media and communications design.

  • Simon Fraser University – computing science.

  • Thompson Rivers University – social work.

  • The University of British Columbia – computer engineering.

  • The University of the Fraser Valley – computer information systems.

  • The University of Victoria – software ngineering.

  • University of Northern British Columbia – bachelor of commerce, major in accounting.

  • Vancouver Community College – computer science and software systems certificate.

  • Vancouver Island University – information technology and applied systems.


Government will continue to increase targeted funding with $50 million in 2017-18 bringing additional targeted funding to $270 million.

Almost one million jobs openings are expected by 2025 because of retirements as well as economic growth. Eight out of 10 of these jobs openings will require some sort of post-secondary education or training.

Quick Facts:

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched in April 2014 and included a commitment to align funding to training for high-demand occupations.

Total targeted funding is almost $410 million, representing $220 million in newly targeted funding:


  • $40 million in 2014-15.

  • $90 million in 2015-16.

  • $90 million in 2016-17.


Targeted funding now accounts for approximately 22% compared to the four-year target of about 25% of operating grants.

The $220 million of newly targeted funding represents approximately 19,000 new student spaces targeted to training and education for high-priority occupations.


  • 3,459 targeted student spaces in 2014-15.

  • 7,832 targeted student spaces in 2015-16.

  • 7,695 targeted student spaces in 2016-17.


This brings the total number of student spaces now targeted to education and training for in-demand occupations to more than 28,600.

Original article from: BC Gov News