BC Colleges ready to train more learners as Province unveils $480-million Future Ready plan

Publicly-funded colleges across British Columbia say they are ready to educate and train more people who need new skills to advance their careers and transition to new jobs.

Earlier today the Province unveiled its StrongerBC Future Ready Plan, which includes actions to reduce barriers to post-secondary so more people can get the instruction and credentials they need to move into in-demand careers, and employers can access qualified workers more quickly.

“BC Colleges applauds the Future Ready plan and its focus on labour market needs,” said Dr. Dennis Johnson, chair, BC Colleges and president of the College of New Caledonia. “Colleges in British Columbia are uniquely positioned to respond to specific industry needs in a nimble, collaborative way by building relevant and timely courses accessible to more people province-wide.”

Currently, the 10 member institutions of BC Colleges serve over 125,000 learners each year, at campuses and learning centres in over 60 communities. More than 90 per cent of students remain in their home region after completing their educational program, a notable strength of the college system.

“Our network of colleges connects communities across B.C., and together we are already making post-secondary learning more available to thousands of people in the province each year. BC Colleges will continue to build on our history of delivering affordable, accessible, inclusive and applied education, and work in partnership with the governments, businesses and industry to help more learners be job-ready in those sectors where we need them most,” Johnson added.

B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook, released in February, forecasted more than one million job openings in the next decade, with employment in the province expected to reach 3.1 million by 2032, up from 2.7 million jobs in 2022.

Since 2017, the Province has steadily expanded access to post-secondary training at colleges and universities in several high-opportunity occupations, including the addition of:

  • 1,577 new early childhood educator seats (ECE), adding to approximately 1,800 seats in ECE programs at public post-secondary institutions;
  • 2,900 tech-related spaces, set to produce approximately 1,000 additional tech graduates each year by 2023; and
  • 27,000 apprenticeship and foundation training seats this year at public and non-public institutions.

Between 2022 and 2032 nearly 80 per cent of all job openings are anticipated to require some level of post-secondary education or training.

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