Thursday April 21, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
As many as 30 people will get skills training to retrain them for jobs in the greenhouse sector as landscape and horticulture technicians, as announced by the BC Government yesterday.
This is a new Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project from the Government of British Columbia. It is intended for immigrants and agricultural workers whose employment was affected by flooding in the Fraser Valley in the fall.
The announcement was made by Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
“Extreme weather events have been challenging for many agricultural workers in BC,” said Simons. “This new CEP project delivers skills training and certificate courses to ensure participants can become qualified for other agri-related employment.”
Skills & certification courses:
The Province is providing more than $500,000 to Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) in Surrey to deliver skills and certification courses in two intakes of its Agricultural Workforce Transition Greenhouse Technician Training project.
Participants will receive 16 weeks of occupational and employability skills training, four weeks of local work experience and two weeks of followup support to help their job search.
Occupational training includes introduction to BC’s agriculture and horticulture industry, greenhouse crop production, hydroponics environmental control and monitoring, irrigation systems for greenhouses, agri-business principles, pest management and pesticide application, and occupational health and safety.
“From vegetables and flowers to trees and shrubs, local greenhouse growers produce many of the vibrant plants enjoyed by people, pollinators and animals in our province.” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “I’m excited to welcome program participants, including those transitioning from fur farming, into their new careers in the greenhouse sector and wish them success in their new careers in agriculture.”
About two months ago, Minister Popham announced new agritech regulations, including the option for vertical farming on land within the BC government’s prized Agricultural Land Reserve.
Participants in the new training will also receive certification training in Emergency First Aid Level 1, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, forklift operating, ladder safety and fall protection, and Foodsafe.
Addressing community and labour market needs:
“This project creatively addresses community and labour market needs in a sector that has been experiencing chronic workforce shortages,” said Raj Hundal, director of employment programs and planning, Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society. “It also provides displaced mink-farm workers, immigrants and agricultural workers an opportunity to build and gain new skills so they can remain in the agriculture and horticulture industry. It’s a win-win situation.”
Full-time, group-based classroom learning for this project starts on Monday April 25, 2022. Project activities run until February 3, 2023. Anyone interested in finding out more about this or other CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.
“This new CEP project is an example of what we’re doing to ensure that eligible individuals who require retraining are supported to access the skills, courses and work experience they need to succeed,” said Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers. “I wish everyone enrolled in this exciting project all the best in their studies.”
===== Quick Facts:
- Funding for this project is provided through the Project Based Labour Market Training stream of WorkBC’s CEP.
- CEP investments are targeted at projects that support an inclusive economic recovery.
- CEP projects support B.C. job seekers’ training and work experience and help businesses and communities address labour market challenges.
- Through CEP, the Province invests $15 million annually in communities throughout BC.
- In 2021-22, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction provided approximately $3.4 million from CEP to support Indigenous Peoples and communities.
===== Learn More:
How CEPs are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx
How WorkBC can help find British Columbians jobs that are right for them: www.workbc.ca/rightforyou
Local WorkBC centres: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/WorkBC-Centres/WorkBC-Centres-Listing.aspx
Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS): https://pics.bc.ca/