B.C government announces skills training overhaul and restructuring of ITA | National Union of Public and General Employees

B.C government announces skills training overhaul and restructuring of ITA

“Although it’s a step in the right direction, there is no new money for post-secondary or for the ITA,” says Darryl Walker, BCGEU President.

Vancouver (01 May 2014) — In a major announcement about skills training yesterday, the B.C. government outlined its Skills for Jobs Blueprint and released its long-awaited review of the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

B.C. government releases new plan for skills training but adds doesn't add new money

Key elements of the Skills for Jobs Blueprint include targeting resources to meet labour market priorities. Government is committed to a "data-driven system where training dollars and programs are targeted to jobs in demand. This system will also be outcome focused. Success will be measured and funding and programs adjusted as the economy evolves."

The ITA review, known as the "McDonald report", contains 29 recommendations and government has approved all the recommendations. Upon initial review of the McDonald Report, BCGEU/NUPGE is pleased to see government approve recommendations made by labour organizations including:

  • A role for organized labour in the governance of the ITA
  • A commitment to hiring 15 new apprenticeship advisors
  • Exploring ways to increase apprenticeship quotas on public projects and in the public sector

New investments needed to ensure effectiveness

“Although it’s a step in the right direction, there is no new money for post-secondary or for the ITA,” says Darryl Walker, President of the B.C. Government and Services Employees Union. “A serious plan to train British Columbians would include new investments.”

BCGEU/NUPGE has concerns that the funding for targeted skills training at post-secondary institutions will be re-directed from existing programs due to the absence of any new funding. 

“Additionally, there is nothing substantive in the plan to encourage employers to invest in apprenticeships or provide on-the-job training,” says Walker.

The union also has concerns about organized labour’s role in the governance of the ITA. “We need to make sure that we get clearly defined seats for labour representatives on the ITA Board,” says Walker.

BCGEU/NUPGE representatives are attending a meeting next month with the B.C. Federation of Labour to further discuss the government's plans, and we will report out to members as more information is learned.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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