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Funding supports tech-skills training for under-represented British Columbians

April 26, 2023 at 9:48 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

A more diverse technology sector is the result of a successful start to the Innovator Skills Initiative program, providing tech companies with funding to hire and develop talent, including those from under-represented groups.

“As B.C. continues to be a North American leader in tech job growth, we know one of the industry’s greatest needs is skilled workers,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “That’s why we are helping businesses access a more diverse workforce while helping under-represented people get their foot in the door of B.C.’s fastest-growing sector.”

In 2021, the Government of B.C. made a $15-million investment to launch the Innovator Skills Initiative through Innovate BC, which has helped approximately 3,000 people get their first job in technology and contributed to this growing sector. With the continued success of the Innovator Skills Initiative, the Province is investing an additional $5 million to the Innovator Skills Initiative, creating a more inclusive economy.

“We are thrilled to see more support for the Innovator Skills Initiative, a critical program that introduces under-represented groups to the plethora of opportunities in tech,” said Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO, Innovate BC. “With increased funding, we can create more pathways to connect a broader spectrum of British Columbians to one of our province’s most robust sectors while B.C. companies will benefit from new talent eager to make their mark and grow.”

The initial program resulted in 70% of participants being offered jobs after a placement, and 100% of them choosing employment, starting a new business or returning to post-secondary studies.

“Upanup initially hired me as a communications and proposal writer through the Innovator Skills Initiative program,” said Linh Nguyen, a former participant in the program. “Afterward, they offered me a full-time position and now I work as a communications and proposal writer where I use my skills in digital communications and technical writing to bring forward innovative ideas and recommendations for optimal and accessible digital solutions for various communities.”

The expansion of the Innovator Skills Initiative program is expected to secure as many as 500 more placements in the tech sector or in a tech-enabled role. A key priority of the program will be more Indigenous placements.

“Vivacity technologies hired a software analyst through the Innovator Skills Initiative program in the summer of 2022,” said George Emery, CEO, Vivacity Technologies. “Afterward, we offered them a job and now they are a full-time software developer, using their skills to help build Vivacity’s Intelligent City platform. The Innovator Skills Initiative program offered us a massive boost with onboarding highly skilled talent.”

British Columbians interested in the program are encouraged to sign up for a notification when applications open in early May 2023.

The additional funding for the Innovator Skills Initiative program aligns with the StrongerBC Economic Plan by training people for in-demand roles, and tackling the issues of today while growing an economy that works for more people.

Learn More:

To sign up for notification when applications open for the Innovator Skills Initiative:
https://info.innovatebc.ca/innovator-skills-initiative-2023

For information about the StrongerBC Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/plan

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