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Youth get opportunity to explore manufacturing careers

May 15, 2023 at 11:52 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Secondary school students and recent graduates will soon have access to short-term, paid work placements at local manufacturers through a new program designed to help build a future workforce.

“Manufacturing is a growing part of our economy with 49,000 new job openings coming to the sector over the next 10 years. Now is the time to introduce young people to the sector so they’re ready to fill those jobs,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “Today’s investment in new training opportunities will ensure youth can develop the high-demand skills they’ll need to find rewarding jobs when they are ready to begin their careers. That’s how you build a strong and sustainable economy that benefits all British Columbians.”

As part of the Future Ready Action Plan, the Province is providing $3 million to the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) to deliver the new Youth in Manufacturing Initiative. Starting in fall 2023, this initiative will provide short-term, paid work placements for as many as 500 B.C. youth aged 16 to 21.

In addition to paid work experience and industry-recognized training, youth will be able to receive credits toward secondary-school graduation and apprenticeship certification. The initiative will be open to all B.C. youth and will promote the inclusion of under-represented groups, such as women and Indigenous people. 

“Manufacturing careers are challenging, fulfilling and require skills and competencies that are continuously evolving,” said JP Giroux, president, EMC. “There are many career paths within the manufacturing sector in addition to traditional production-related roles. The experiences shared by this project will help youth rise to develop expected skills, attitudes and habits needed to be successful in the workforce.”

Eligible employers will receive as much as $3,500 per placement to offset onboarding and wage costs for this on-the-job training.

“Manufacturing and trades like mine, heavy-duty mechanics, are great, well-paying career choices,” said Sadie Craine, a secondary school student in Nanaimo. “I appreciate the opportunity I had to take a trades-sampler program so I could make an informed decision on my future. It is exciting that people my age looking for a career in manufacturing will get the opportunity to have paid work experience. I know from my own experience that once you have your foot in the door, many doors open up.”

The Youth in Manufacturing Initiative is part of the StrongerBC Future Ready Action Plan to make skills training more affordable and accessible, and to respond to the biggest challenge heard from businesses – the need for people.

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 the training they need for in-demand careers and employers can access the talent they need.


Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills –

“Every action in our Future Ready Action Plan is designed to take on the challenges of today, to build a better future for people and a stronger economy. We are creating opportunities for people to explore new skills for in-demand jobs, such as in B.C.’s manufacturing sector.”

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan –

“Our B.C. government is proud to create more opportunities for young people to access skills training in the manufacturing industry to help build a strong and diverse workforce. Working together collaboratively with local businesses, industry leaders and learning institutions is the key to long-term success for all communities throughout the province.”

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo –

“More young people will get the chance to train for good jobs that are in demand. Graduates of the manufacturing program will receive the skills training they need to pursue rewarding careers in their communities.”

Tod Gilbert, president, VMAC Global Technology Inc. –

“A significant challenge our industry faces is a shortage of skilled workers, which limits growth opportunities for B.C. companies. VMAC applauds this program as it not only supports growing B.C. businesses like ours, but also provides an opportunity for young people around the province to learn about meaningful and sustainable employment in the manufacturing sector.”

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For more about the StrongerBC Economic Plan:

Learn more about Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium:

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