VICTORIA—B.C. officials are pouring $45 million into connecting youth with skills training and job opportunities as the pandemic has caused youth unemployment to spike.
The money will go towards job and training opportunities for more than 5,000 youth in the province through the 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 in a statement. “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 program provides youth and young adults with training, internships, job co-ops and jobs in the growing tech sector, environment and natural resource fields.
Officials noted young British Columbians have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and face significantly higher unemployment early in their careers as they try to build experience. During the pandemic, youth unemployment peaked at 29 per cent, over 15 percentage points above the provincial average. As of March 2021, youth unemployment sits at 12.1 per cent, above the general unemployment rate in B.C. of 6.9 per cent.
The funding will provide a minimum of 4,500 training spots and paid internships in two programs, in partnership with Innovate BC and the Digital Technology Supercluster. There will also be paid opportunities for youth to clean up marine areas or gain experience working for BC Parks.
The province will make 220 jobs available in the Natural Resource Youth Employment program and the Recreation Sites and Trails program.
The province has also appointed Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston, has been appointed as the premier’s special adviser on youth. Anderson will serve as the key contact for young people looking to engage with the province.