From the left; Emily Zahn

From the left; Emily Zahn

Tuition funding boost aimed for unemployed

Anyone wanting to enquire about potential funding will need to go through a WorkBC Service Centre, such as the Skills Centre in Trail.

The B.C. government is hoping to provide an additional helping hand to unemployed British Columbians who are seeking retraining in the form of a boost to the tuition funding available to those who qualify.

The Employment Program of B.C. (EPBC) is raising the cap on the amount of funding it will contribute to tuition for skills training from $4,000 to $7,500.

In the 2012 – 2013 fiscal year the Ministry of Social Development will invest $343.5 million in employment programs and apprenticeship training, of which nearly $280 million is funded by the federal government through the Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement.

Anyone wanting to enquire about potential funding will need to go through a WorkBC Service Centre, such as the Skills Centre in Trail.

“Raising the tuition cap allows more people who otherwise might not be able to afford training to pursue their goals,” said Skills Centre Employment Services Manager, Carol Corbett.

“Many of the jobs that people in the Greater Trail area have traditionally sought training for were programs in health care, truck driving, or trades; jobs that are still in demand in this area.

“This increase may help more people locally to access the training they need.”

B.C.’s Minister of Social Development, Moira Stillwell said in a press release said the goal is to increase access to skill training.

“Our government believes that people want to be self-sufficient, support their families, and contribute to a growing economy.

“Tuition supports available through the Employment Program of BC help unemployed British Columbians have more opportunity to access skills training that will help them find – and keep – a job.”

Funding for skills development from the Labour Market Development agreement between the federal and provincial governments is available to those who are unemployed or under-employed and are either on Employment Insurance or who have been within the last three years.

The additional funding will take effect on training agreements signed from Monday and on with no set time limit or end date for the increase.

The Employment Program of B.C., launched in April, 2012, is delivered through 85 WorkBC Employment Service Centres and over 100 satellite, mobile, or outreach services around the province.

The goal of EPBC is to offer a full suit of employment programs to all British Columbians, including specialized populations, while ensuring quick and easy access through a single door.