VICTORIA– Ten years after dismantling the trades and skills training system, the band-aid approach taken today by Premier Clark is too little too late, says New Democrat skills training critic Gwen O'Mahony.
“We are facing a serious skills shortage that the Liberals have contributed to by creating a skills training system that is failing to support apprentices and employers,” said O’Mahony. “Part of the problem is that many of the apprentices we have in the skills training system are not completing their studies, a problem which can be traced back to the Liberal dismantling of the skills training system in 2002,” she added.
Premier Clark outlined 16 bullet points without any commitment to new resources or a strategic plan to back them up. Many of the key activities do not begin for another year.
“Premier Clark’s so-called jobs plan has been the Liberals' central economic development plan, but its failure to even contemplate skills training put us even further behind in fixing these problems. Now to see that the Liberals’ response is to maybe do something next year is disappointing,” said O’Mahony. "It's bad enough to be playing catch up on skills training when their plan never included it in the first place, but worse when what they have to offer won't come close to filling the gaping hole between what's needed on this file and what the Liberals have done."
"The fact that the government’s $15 million advertising campaign includes running ads on skytrains that state “hipster is not a real job” as a way to get students excited about the trades, put in question the judgment and ability of the government to get the job done,” said O’Mahony.
“Adrian Dix has been clear that skills training will be a central part of his plan to create jobs, build the economy and support the middle class,” said O’Mahony. “British Columbians are looking for a government that has a serious plan to invest in our workforce so we can compete in a 21st century global economy that demands skilled workers.”
Adrian Dix and the New Democrats are committed to modernizing and improving B.C.’s skills training system to create jobs, build a stronger economy and reduce inequality.