By Rich Coleman
Minister of Natural Gas Development
If there is one thing I'd tell young people today, it's this: The future is in trades.
The growing liquefied natural gas sector will bring thousands of new jobs to our province and we want British Columbians to be first in line to fill these openings.
In 2011, we released the BC Jobs Plan with a commitment to build a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, sector here in B.C. Since releasing the LNG strategy two years ago, we have taken concrete action to give companies certainty when making their final investment decisions.
Our efforts have been successful. Global investors and major companies have come forward with 13 project proposals, nine of which have already received approved export licences from Canada's National Energy Board.
The most recent analysis shows that if five plants are constructed in B.C. between 2015 and 2024, the LNG sector will need to fill 100,000 jobs, including more than 58,000 construction jobs. We need to be ready to meet this demand.
That's why last month we released the Skills for Jobs Blueprint, a targeted plan to re-engineer B.C.'s education and training system to prepare British Columbians for tomorrow's labour market.
We know that the labour market of 2018 will look very different from today. In the LNG sector, there will be increased demand for welders, steamfitters, pipefitters and trades labourers, mostly in B.C.'s North.
This increased demand for trades in the North will fuel economic growth here in the Mainland, too.
A recent independent study found that a 10% increase in B.C.'s resource economy could create up to 30,000 new jobs - 55% in Metro Vancouver.
That's more than 16,000 jobs on the Lower Mainland supporting northern resource development with services such as accounting, engineering and legal advice.
We're redirecting $3 billion over the next 10 years toward training for high-demand occupations. British Columbia's apprenticeship system will be recalibrated, education will be re-engineered, and training models will be more responsive to labour market demands.
Over the next three years, our government will invest $185 million in trades and skills infrastructure and equipment projects including the new Centre for Trades Education and Innovation at Camosun College.
By working with industry, we've created a Blueprint that will create a seamless path from school to the workplace for our young people, provide long-term, well-paying jobs for all our communities and deliver a skilled workforce for B.C.'s growing LNG sector.
Over the last year, I've been meeting with project proponents in Asia and here in B.C. The number one thing they tell me is they need skilled workers. In fact, it is so important to the LNG industry that we have added a trade-show and a career fair to the Province's second annual LNG conference happening next week in Vancouver. On the trade show floor, youth from all over B.C. will participate in an interactive career experience and have an opportunity to learn more about the opportunities that await them.
So for any young people approaching graduation in June and wondering what to do next, I encourage you to check out www.workbc.ca/skills
and see how the Blueprint can help you build your future.