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More people can pursue in-demand careers as early childhood educators

May 12, 2023 at 9:19 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Many more early childhood educators (ECE) will attend post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia, benefiting families, communities and the growing child care sector.

“We’re increasing opportunities for people to access education in the rewarding and in-demand field of early childhood education,” said Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care. “ECEs are skilled professionals that provide care, connection and early learning opportunities for our young children during one of the most important times of their lives. They are essential for us to achieve our ChildCareBC goal of making access to affordable, quality, inclusive child care a core service all families can rely on.”

In partnership with public post-secondary institutions, the Province is accelerating the expansion of early childhood education programs so more than 1,300 people will have the opportunity to access this education over the next three years, with public post-secondary spaces in B.C. expected to increase by approximately 50%.

“By working with the public post-secondary institutions, we’re creating more post-secondary spaces where they are needed most as a part of the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “We’re accelerating talent development and skills training throughout the province – to address workforce challenges across all sectors of the economy.”

With an additional $16 million in provincial funding, more than 400 student spaces will be created in each of the next three years for people to take ECE programs to help address staffing pressures and prepare for anticipated job openings for certified ECEs and ECE assistants in the coming decade.

“I was drawn to train as an early childhood educator because it’s exciting to help raise the next generation of kids that love you with no conditions and teach me new things every single day,” said Archi Sharma, ECE student, Ridge Meadows College. “As a parent facilitator, I was educating parents about how to support children in difficult situations and the ECE program will help me understand how to work with kids.”

Creating more early childhood education training opportunities supports the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, which will help thousands of people get the skills they need to succeed in the growing economy and help close the skills gap many businesses are facing. Budget 2023 invests $480 million over three years to support Future Ready’s work to break down barriers to post-secondary training so more people can get training for in-demand careers and employers can access the talent they need.

In B.C., 18 of 25 public post-secondary institutions are recognized to deliver ECE education programs approved by B.C.’s ECE Registry. Since 2018, the Province has created 1,713 new, additional student spaces in approved ECE programs at 16 B.C. public post-secondary institutions throughout the province.

Students enrolled in approved ECE programs can apply for bursaries to help pay for their education through the Province’s ECE Education Support Fund administered through the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia. Métis ECE students can also receive help with the cost of post-secondary education through Métis Nation BC.

Quick Facts:

  • Since the launch of ChildCareBC in 2018 through to 2020-21 and the development of the ECE Recruitment and Retention Strategy, public post-secondary enrolment in early childhood education programs has grown by 40%, compared to 2017-18.
  • Since 2018, more than $24 million in bursary funding have been awarded to more than 6,500 ECE students.
  • In partnership with the federal government, the Province has funded the piloting and expansion of ECE programs delivered through work-integrated learning at six public post-secondary institutions, enabling 227 students, including ECE assistants, to obtain or upgrade their full ECE credentials while remaining employed.
  • In 2022-23, the Province provided a $4-per-hour wage enhancement for 14,800 ECEs, helping bring the median wage to $26 per hour.

Learn More:

To read the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Future-Ready-May2023.pdf

For more information about post-secondary institutions offering ECE programs:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content?id=62102395C4F64F068A63E42921E67720

For more information and to apply for the ECE Education Support Fund, visit:
https://www.ecebc.ca/ece-education-support-fund

For more information and to read the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, visit:
www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/ecestrategy

For more information about Métis Nation BC’s post-secondary ECE funding, visit:
https://www.mnbc.ca/education

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