Construction training pilot to focus on Prince Rupert and Kitimat in the northwest

A provincial program to take people off of welfare and place them in northern construction jobs will be focusing on Prince Rupert.

A provincial program to take people off of welfare and place them in northern construction jobs will be focusing on Kitimat and Prince Rupert in the northwest and on Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson and Fort St. John in the northeast.

The plan, described as a pilot one for now, is to find and train 250 people overall with the expectation that at least 60 per cent of the recruits be on social assistance.

The BC Construction Association, which represents approximately 2,000 companies, has been hired to do the training thanks to a $2.92 million budget, explains jobs ministry official Andy Watson in an email.

Depending on the success of the pilot, it is hoped this initiative can be expanded to other communities in need starting sometime in the new year,” wrote Watson.

There’s going to be a formal evaluation of the pilot program in November.

The program, called Job Match, was heavily criticized when first proposed in the spring as being an attempt by the province to place southern welfare recipients in northern jobs.

Called Welfare Air by its detractors, the provincial NDP said provincial programs should first concentrate on training northern residents for northern jobs.

The pilot program’s emphasis is on placing northern residents first in northern jobs.

Only in the event that a job opening cannot be filled by an individual in northern B.C. would relocation from another part of the province be considered,” Watson wrote.

The level of support that will be provided to an individual relocating to fill a job opening will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. One of the objectives of this pilot initiative is to determine what people need, and what a reasonable level of support to provide is.”

Two weeks ago the provincial government announced it would spend $17 million on skills training.

Approximately $5 million of that is to come to northern post secondary school institutions but how much will end up at Northwest Community College is unknown.

Monthly jobless figures so far this year place the rate in the northwest in the 12 per cent range, nearly double the provincial average.

That’s despite large industrial projects now already underway in the region and more being planned.

Just Posted

Teams set for All Native tournament

The 51-team field features 39 automatic qualifiers and 12 qualifying teams

Sports briefs

Here’s what’s going on in Prince Rupert sports this weekend

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

Rent continues to rise in Prince Rupert, drops in Terrace

A report from Canadian Mortage and Housing Corporation shows the average rent has risen by $132

UPDATE: Tree planting won’t damage sidewalks on Third Avenue West

City of Prince Rupert dug up holes on downtown sidewalks to make space for trees

Heart of Our City: A fisherman with two loves

Norm Ostrom has owned one boat in his life — Arne A. — for almost 60 years

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Most Read