StrongerBC Program Creates New Jobs, Opportunities

StrongerBC Program Creates New Jobs, Opportunities

Posted on April 14, 2021 at 10:50 am by Bill Roberts
BC, Community, Provincial


The Province is providing more than 5,000 youth and young adults across British Columbia with access to skills training and well-paid jobs through the almost $45-million StrongerBC Future Leaders Program.

“This pandemic has set back many young people from starting their careers. We’re providing first-rate training and in-demand jobs that can lead to fulfilling, long-term careers,” said Premier John Horgan. “Providing young adults with opportunities for stable, good jobs can change the direction of their lives, while helping British Columbia come back stronger and more resilient.”

The StrongerBC Future Leaders Program provides youth and young adults with training, internships, job co-ops and jobs in the growing tech sector, environment and natural resource fields. Four B.C. ministries will invest in this initiative, including the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

“Young people continue to be disproportionally impacted in this pandemic. They have experienced higher rates of unemployment and the nature of the economy has been changing rapidly,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This new program creates opportunities that young people need. It takes an inclusive approach that is tailored to the future economy, to ensure that Indigenous, Black, people of colour, women and people facing socio-economic barriers are able to participate in our growing economy and help build a stronger B.C.”

Young people face significantly higher unemployment early in their careers as they try to build experience for the future. Youth are also often the first to feel the impact of economic shifts. During the pandemic, youth unemployment peaked at 29%, over 15 percentage points above the provincial average. As of March 2021, youth unemployment sits at 12.1%, above the general unemployment rate in B.C. of 6.9%.

The Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation is investing $22 million to fund a minimum of 4,500 training spots and paid internships in two programs, in partnership with Innovate BC and the Digital Technology Supercluster.

The first program, the Innovator Skills Initiative program, is delivered in partnership with Innovate BC. The second program, the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator program, is delivered by NPower Canada, in partnership with the Digital Technology Supercluster and Microsoft.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will invest more than $11 million for over 220 jobs in the Natural Resource Youth Employment program and the Recreation Sites and Trails program.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is creating opportunities for up to 180 young people to help tackle marine debris and plastic pollution in coastal communities. An investment of $5 million in the Clean Coast, Clean Waters program is aimed at youth employment, including youth in Indigenous communities.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy will invest $4.6 million to create 37 positions with BC Parks and 46 positions with the Conservation Officer Service, to work in a variety of fields to gain experience and help protect the environment.

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has invested $1 million into Mitacs for key internal program placements. This funding is in addition to the $1.18 million provided in 2019-20, for a total investment of $2.18 million over two years.

Additional information about all these programs is presented at the end of this article.

Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization that builds partnerships between undergraduate and graduate student researchers, post-secondary institutions, industry, other not-for-profit organizations and communities. The internships will focus on addressing challenges in the sectors that include health, technology and others.

To further demonstrate government’s commitment to youth in British Columbia, Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston, has been appointed as the premier’s special advisor on youth.

As Special Advisor on Youth, Anderson will serve as the point person for young people across government, providing a platform for them to engage directly with the Province. Anderson will work with youth to ensure the government develops a better understanding of the needs and perspectives of young people throughout British Columbia.

Anderson will work with Kahlon to develop and chair a provincial youth economic advisory council to help shape government efforts to build an economic recovery that values B.C.’s future leaders.

“Our youth are the future of this province, and our government is working hard to give them every support they need to succeed. The job opportunities that come from this program will help young people thrive in every corner of the province,” Anderson said. “I am honoured to take on the role as the premier’s special advisor on youth, and I am excited to engage with young people to ensure that their values and perspectives are reflected in the decisions our government makes.”

The StrongerBC Future Leaders Program is part of B.C.’s Budget 2021 and existing supports and services. Budget 2021 will work to ensure the pandemic does not disrupt the future success of B.C.’s youth. It will do so by creating employment and training opportunities that enable them to participate in innovative, sustainable and inclusive recovery for all British Columbians.

Quotes:

Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development –

“Our government is committed to creating opportunities for young people to develop the skills they need to find meaningful employment in whatever fields they choose. This program will provide young people throughout the province with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience while learning how we manage and protect B.C.’s natural resources.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“Finding meaningful employment is a continuing challenge for many young people across B.C. as we continue to deal with the pandemic. Through mentoring and hands-on experience working on a range of important stewardship activities, young people will gain practical knowledge and career development. We want to do everything we can to support young people in British Columbia who want to protect and enhance the rich environment we all value.”

Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training –

“Hands-on learning opportunities are a vital part of building our knowledge-based economy. By supporting Mitacs and the approximately 500 internships it will facilitate across B.C. this year, we are ensuring students and industry can connect on meaningful work that will support the technology, health and business sectors. These opportunities mean that everyone can prosper and thrive as we create a stronger B.C.”

Jared Davis, youth employment program participant, Fort St. John –

“The youth employment program gave me the opportunity to gain experience as a conservation officer – a job that I have enjoyed immensely. In this role, I have been able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of British Columbia and build skills that have benefited me in both my professional and personal journey. I look forward to what the future holds and the doors this opportunity will open for me.”

Easha Acharya, youth employment program participant, Victoria –

“As a result of my participation in the youth employment program, I was hired in a temporary position as a policy analyst with the B.C. government. Working with the government has been a rewarding experience and has provided me the opportunity to apply my education in ways that I never imagined. The youth employment program proved to be a beneficial pathway to start building my career, and I appreciate the opportunities it has provided me.”

Quick Facts:

  • Many of the job postings will be posted on the B.C. government job postings website and through partner organizations.
  • For more information on where jobs will be posted, view the attached backgrounders.

Learn More:

To learn more about the StrongerBC Future Leaders Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/economic-recovery/youth

To learn more about the premier’s special advisor on youth mandate, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/4-13-21_mandate_letter.pdf

To learn more about current B.C. government job postings, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/careers-myhr/job-seekers/current-job-postings

To learn more about the Innovate BC Innovator Skills Initiative, visit: https://innovatebc.ca/what-we-offer/get-funding/student-hiring-grant/

To learn more about the Digital Supercluster Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator, visit: https://www.digitalsupercluster.ca/canadian-tech-talent-accelerator/

To learn more about Npower Canada, visit: https://npowercanada.ca/

To learn more about youth employment opportunities with BC Parks, visit: https://bcparks.ca/yep/

To learn more about Mitacs, visit: https://www.mitacs.ca/en

For more information on StrongerBC, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/

StrongerBC Future Leaders program: Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
The Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, in partnership with Innovate BC and the Digital Technology Supercluster, will invest $22 million for a minimum of 4,500 training spots and internships in two programs.

The Innovator Skills Initiative program, under B.C.’s Crown agency, Innovate BC, will receive $15 million for a minimum of 3,000 internships for those under-represented in the labour market to get their first job in the tech sector or a tech-enabled position in another sector. The program is expected to start accepting applications in summer 2021. Applications will be open until the funds are disbursed.

The StrongerBC Future Leaders program will be expanded to include those who have completed some form of recognized industry-approved training. Funding will be provided to eligible businesses hiring Indigenous, Black, people of colour and under-represented young people into an internship program with the aim of providing long-term employment opportunities.

An additional $7 million is being invested with the Digital Technology Supercluster to support the expansion of the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator program within B.C. This funding will enable the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator program to support 1,400 to 2,000 Indigenous, Black, people of colour and under-represented B.C. youth in a 15-week, online skills training program.

The Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator program is delivered by NPower Canada and supported by Microsoft. The program helps young adults develop skills to prepare them for a range of different job opportunities and support them to earn industry certification through the junior data analyst program. Additional information is available through NPower Canada’s website. Youth can apply to the program starting May 5, 2021.

StrongerBC Future Leaders program: Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will provide approximately $11.4 million under the StrongerBC Future Leaders program for about 220 seasonal employment opportunities at various locations throughout British Columbia.

These ministry jobs will help people gain valuable work experience. The jobs will also improve recreation sites and trails in and around many communities throughout the province.

The funding is divided between two ministry programs:

  • $8.7 million for about 160 jobs in the ministry’s Natural Resource Youth Employment program; and
  • $2.7 million to build on the Recreation Site and Trails Youth Employment program that started in 2020 with $500,000. The additional funding for Recreation Sites and Trails will create about 65 jobs.

People hired for the Natural Resource Youth Employment program will work on projects such as community wildfire prevention, invasive species management and improving forest management and health.

Jobs will be located around the province and will be a combination of new positions over the next nine to 12 months, including summer and fall co-op positions, intern positions and auxiliary hires. The postings will include new opportunities and/or recall/eligibility lists. Opportunities will be made available through post-secondary institutions and the B.C. government job postings website.

Recreation Sites and Trails projects will include maintenance and improvements to various forestry campsites and trails throughout the province, including upgrades to hiking, mountain biking and all-terrain vehicle trails. Jobs will be located around the province. Opportunities will be posted on the B.C. government job postings website.

StrongerBC Future Leaders program: Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Young people who may be looking for careers in natural resources, shoreline protection, parks planning and other environmental fields will have opportunities through the newly announced StrongerBC Future Leaders Program for positions with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

The program focuses on diversity and inclusion, hiring young people from under-represented groups who may face employment barriers.

Up to 180 young people will be tackling the growing problem of marine debris and plastic pollution as part of the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative supporting coastal communities, including Indigenous communities where youth will be employed in stewardship activities, shoreline cleanups, traditional food gathering and infrastructure repairs. New funding of $5 million will support projects that focus on youth employment.

A $4.6-million investment will provide youth employment in BC Parks and the BC Conservation Officer Service. Thirty-seven young people will work with BC Parks, including 26 regional intern positions and 11 co-op positions with the BC Parks Provincial Services Branch. Young people employed in positions with BC Parks will receive mentoring from staff and will work in a variety of specialized fields including parks planning, community engagement and education, conservation, recreation services and administration.

Forty-six young people will work with the Conservation Officer Service. In these positions, participants will develop new skills to assist in career planning, such as protecting the natural environment and working on projects to strengthen ties with Indigenous communities.

Opportunities with the BC Conservation Officer Service include supporting public education and outreach with roles such as wildlife safety response officers who promote wildlife safety and the importance of removing food attractants to reduce the potential of human-wildlife conflict.

Twenty-eight young people will join the Conservation Officer Service Aquatic Invasive Species program to help conservation officers check watercraft as part of the Province’s Invasive Mussel Defence program.

The postings for BC Parks regional intern positions will be included on the B.C. government job postings website. Applicants must be enrolled in full-time studies at an accredited post-secondary educational institution within the past six months to qualify. The BC Parks Provincial Services Branch co-op positions are posted with local academic institutions. Applicants must be registered with the co-op program.

Conservation Officer Service positions will initially be drawn from an existing list of candidates with a potential second phase of hiring later this spring. For more information on the Conservation Officer Service and job opportunities, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/natural-resource-law-enforcement/conservation-officer-service

For information on youth employment opportunities with BC Parks, visit: https://bcparks.ca/yep/

The Clean Coast, Clean Waters program will have a separate community-based hiring process. As the program gets underway in the coming weeks, partner agencies will be able to provide further details to young people interested in applying to the clean-up program. Government will announce the partner agencies and provide further information on the work opportunities available in the near future.

Mitacs internships help student researchers tackle real-word problems
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training’s investment in research internships will connect post-secondary students throughout British Columbia with industry partners to gain real-world experience that will help them move on to good careers while helping build B.C.’s post COVID-19 economy.

The ministry has invested $1 million into key internal program placements to help hundreds of students create innovative solutions for the B.C. businesses, not-for-profit organizations and communities that are addressing challenges in the health, technology and other sectors. This is in addition to the $1.8 million provided in 2019-20, for a total investment of $2.18 million over two years.

The paid internships are administered through Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization that builds partnerships between undergraduate and graduate student researchers, post-secondary institutions, industry, not-for-profit organizations and communities.

Examples of current internships include:

  • a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Northern British Columbia who is working with BC Biocarbon to research a carbon-neutral replacement for coal in high-temperature combustion uses;
  • a PhD student from Simon Fraser University who researched the characterization of stabilized lithium ion batteries for Nano One Materials Corporation that developed a scalable process for producing low-cost, high-performance cathode powders used in lithium ion batteries; and
  • a University of Victoria student who researched the impacts of small vessels on cetaceans, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, in the Salish Sea with the Wild 4 Whales Foundation.

Mitacs has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada since 1999. It works with 70 post-secondary institutions and more than 6,000 companies, as well as federal and provincial governments, to build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.

This funding builds on government’s commitment to building B.C.’s knowledge economy. Other investments include 2,900 new tech-related spaces in post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.; a $15.75-million graduate scholarship fund (the largest investment in the province’s history in terms of grad scholarships); ongoing capital project investments to improve learning spaces across the post-secondary landscape; and the new B.C. Access Grant.

More information about Mitacs:

  • Since 2017, government has invested $17.8 million for Mitacs internships.
  • Over the past 20 years, Mitacs has supported more than 20,000 research projects, trained more than 33,000 student and post-doctoral career-skills participants and supported more than 3,600 international research collaborations.
  • Since 2007, provincial funding has supported approximately 3,500 research projects, more than 3,700 interns and more than 8,200 internships (an intern can complete more than one internship) in B.C.
  • Government funding supports three Mitacs programs to benefit students and industry:
    • Accelerate: Provides a minimum of four-month collaborative research internships with industry for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.
    • Elevate: Provides two-year collaborative post-doctoral fellowships with industry, with a special focus on advancing research management and professional skills.
    • Globalink: Provides travel funding for internships between Canada and several international partners, such as Brazil, France, India and Mexico. This program is largely on hold due to the impacts of COVID-19.