As many as 36 eligible British Columbians will get skills training to prepare them for jobs in the public-works sector.

This is a new Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project from the Government of British Columbia and is intended for immigrants, people with multiple barriers to employment and youth.

“The provincial government continues to work with employers to ensure people who have immigrated to B.C. have opportunities to develop the skills they need to find and keep good-paying jobs,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Graduates of this program will be well-placed to find employment as public-works technicians.”

The Province is providing more than $420,000 to Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society in Vancouver to deliver skills and certification courses in three intakes of its Immigrant Public Works Technician Training Program.

Participants will receive 11 weeks of occupational and essential skills training, four weeks of on-the-job work experience with local employers and one week of follow-up support to assist in their job search. They will receive certification courses in personal protective equipment, Occupational First Aid Level 1, WHMIS, confined spaces, ladder safety and fall protection, excavation and shoring safety, transportation endorsement and basic electrical safety.

Participants will also receive short-term occupational certifications for traffic control person/flagger and underground utilities locator.

“The program aims to engage new Canadians who earned skills and training in their native countries, but whose qualifications do not transfer to Canadian certification,” said Raj Hundal, director of employment programs and planning, PICS Society. “It’s helping immigrants work in their chosen field and develop skills to acquire the appropriate certifications and best utilize their skills.”

Upon completion of their training and work experience, participants will be registered as provisional public-works technicians by the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C. and supported toward full certification after one year of successful public-works employment.

Funding for this project is provided through the Project Based Labour Market Training stream of WorkBC’s CEP. CEP’s investments are targeted toward projects that support an inclusive economic recovery. CEP supports B.C. job seekers’ training and work experience, leading to employment in available jobs, and aids businesses and communities to address labour market challenges. CEP invests $15 million annually in communities throughout B.C.

Employers in the public-works sector include public utilities, municipalities, regional districts, First Nations communities and school districts in every region of the province. Graduates of the program will be qualified to apply for work in building and grounds maintenance, water and waste treatment, and fire protection.

Full-time, group-based virtual and classroom learning for the first intake of this project starts on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. Project activities run through to July 22, 2022. Anyone interested in finding out more about this or other CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.

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