Following the highest tech jobs growth in North America, the Vancouver region has seen a lot of layoffs in tech over the past year.
Combined with a Pandemic-fuelled shift to hybrid work, the city is in a state of flux.
Moving forward, we know that demand for tech skills remains, especially around coveted roles. There is momentum to be maintained.
The province of British Columbia has launched the “StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan” to address a skills gap many businesses are facing and help thousands of people get the necessary skills to succeed in the changing economy.
The action plan is focused on five pillars, including making post-secondary education more affordable, accessible, and relevant to British Columbians. It aims to help people reskill and upskill to find in-demand jobs in tech and beyond so that employers facing current and future skills shortages can find the people they need.
The plan includes measures that will break down barriers to help people enter the workforce and increase the number of students with job-ready skills needed for the tech-related and engineering workforce, early childhood education services, health-care professions, veterinary professions, teachers, construction jobs, and other key sectors, according to a recent statement from the Government of BC.
“Work is transforming, and we have more job openings than skilled people,” stated Premier David Eby. “That’s why we are taking action to make sure people are ready to seize new opportunities and build a good life here in BC, and businesses are able find the people who drive our economy forward and deliver the services we all rely on.”
B.C.’s latest Labour Market Outlook forecasts one million job openings over the next decade, and that includes many opportunities within the tech sector.
“Our economy is growing and innovating quickly,” Eby said.
According to the Outlook, 80% of all new jobs over the net decade will require some level of post-secondary education or training. The increasing presence of up-skilling programs in Canada will therefore be important to help fill gaps.
StrongerBC’s future skills grant, which is the highlight of the $480-million Action Plan, will provide up to $3,500 to cover the cost of training for in-demand jobs. The grant will be available to British Columbians starting from September, making it easier for people to select from more than 400 eligible training opportunities at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
The plan estimates that about 8,500 newly trained people over the next three years will become skilled and ready to fill positions and address the skills gap.
The province is also establishing TradeUpBC, a continuing education hub for in-demand jobs in the trades, targeting certified or experienced workers to provide valuable skills that complement but do not replace apprentice training. Over three years, it’s estimated that up to 6,000 people will benefit from short-term training and TradeUpBC.
“Every action in Future Ready is designed to take on the challenges of today, to build a better future for people and a stronger economy,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “Together, we are building a future in BC where people are able to acquire the skills and find the opportunities they need to thrive, and employers are able to find the people they need to sustain and grow their businesses.”
On the tech-specific side, actions include opening 3,000 more tech-relevant post-secondary spaces to meet the demand for technology workers in BC’s changing economy.
Meanwhile, an online platform called Launching Find Your Path will “boost access to high-opportunity occupations through new one-stop digital services,” according to the Province.
“This initiative will … ensure businesses have access to a skilled and diverse talent pool, now and into the future,” affirmed Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “Good jobs are good for workers and for businesses. By working together, we can build a better future for BC.”
Employment in B.C. is expected to reach 3.1 million by 2032, according to the 10-year forecast, up from 2.7 million jobs in 2022.
Vancouver’s tech scene employs 92,000, a figure which has nearly tripled since 2010.