Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson said there was nothing much to be encouraged about following the B.C. government’s recent Throne Speech.
The speech set out many priorities for the B.C. Liberals but real support for training a local workforce was missing, said Donaldson.
“I just think the Throne Speech outlines a jobs plan without a training plan and that’s very concerning because it means the people in our region are going to get left behind again with the development that is slated to occur,” he said.
As an example he said there is no core funding for the Northwest Community College’s School for Exploration and Mining.
“They lurch from year to year with no core funding,” he said. “That creates great instability.”
The college itself also saw a reduction in funding for trades training, he said.
He also said financial accessibility for training is limiting.
“I would have liked to see something to make post-secondary education and the training that’s needed for people in our area more accessible,” he said, referring to a needs-based grant system, rather than a loan system.
“People who want to get training for jobs that are going to happen in the Northwest are finding it harder and harder to get access to the post-secondary training.”
The Throne Speech included a multi-phased approach to job creation. Under the first “pillar” of the Jobs Creation Plan, a Major Investments Office will be created “to work with investors to take projects on paper and make them a reality.”
A Jobs Investment Board will also be created to “hold government’s feet to the fire,” to make way for job creation, and monitor key economic and social indicators.
The Throne Speech also promised to develop international education by increasing the enrolment of foreign students by 50 per cent over four years, which the government said would add $500 million to the economy.
The full Throne Speech is available online at http://www.gov.bc.ca/premier/2011_throne_speech.
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