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Education pathways support people needed for in-demand careers

June 19, 2024 at 1:25 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People seeking academic upgrading to access high-demand post-secondary programs and meet their career goals will continue to benefit from tuition-free Adult Basic Education and English Language pathway programs across B.C.

“People are ready and eager to train for the jobs B.C. needs, but many often experience barriers to accessing this training and building the life they want,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “By improving access to adult upgrading opportunities and supporting the transition to post-secondary education, we’re preparing British Columbians for employment in areas with high labour market demand.”

The Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning pathways program was launched in 2022 to provide tailored support for people who need upgrading to pursue in-demand jobs. For the 2024-25 year, the Province is investing $3.5 million to support 22 pathways at 12 public post-secondary institutions and the Native Education College. This is in addition to the variety of Adult Basic Education and English language learning programs available throughout the province, which became tuition-free in 2017.

This funding provides tailored opportunities for domestic students to acquire the prerequisites they need in English, math, science and biology to access high-priority career programs, including health care, early childhood education, skilled trades and technology, all at no cost. Specific pathways at each institution also offer unique approaches to reflect their region, student population and programming. For example, institutions may customize their pathways to meet the needs of Indigenous students, students living in rural areas or students who are new to Canada.

“In the past, too many people were held back from advancing their careers and helping B.C. build a strong workforce. Today, we‘re welcoming more people to British Columbia than ever before,” said Ravi Parmar, Parliamentary Secretary for International Credentials. “By creating customized pathways for newcomers, we‘re ensuring better opportunities and a stronger economy for everyone. In 2017, we made adult basic education tuition-free again after the previous government cut funding, ensuring equitable access to education and empowering individuals to contribute fully to our province’s growth.

The pathways program aligns with the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan by breaking down barriers to post-secondary education so more people can get training for in-demand careers and so employers can access the talent they need.

“The funding for ABE/ELL pathways has been essential for supporting our communities in the northern region of Vancouver Island and more than 450 students have benefited from the Access Navigator Initiative at NIC,” said Kathleen Kuhnert, vice-president students and community engagement at North Island College.

The pathways program sets students up for success in high-demand career programs by supporting their transition to post-secondary education and skills training. Institutions help students integrate into post-secondary life, tailor offerings to students’ target careers or disciplines and provide career guidance and additional academic supports.

“These opportunities give students a clear pathway to pursuing their goals and they simplify the application, admissions and advising processes for students,” said Andrew Pulvermacher associate dean, arts and foundational programs at Okanagan College.

Learn more:

For more about StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, visit:

To read B.C.’s most recent Labour market Outlook, visit:

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