Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training. (Submitted photo)

PICS in Surrey to get $3.4 million to help young adults train for trades careers

The programs provide training and “employment support” for those 18 to 24 years old

Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society in Surrey will get $3.4 million over the next two years from the provincial government to help prepare young adults for careers in the trades and as safety technicians.

The money will be used for skills training programs young adults in general and those considered “at risk,” including individuals who were formerly in government care.

“Breaking down barriers to good-paying jobs benefits the next generation and builds off our government’s commitment to open doors for young people, including former youth in care,” said Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training.

David Holt, PICS’ job developer, said the goal “is to give program participants the skills that employers need.”

The programs provide training and “employment support” for those 18 to 24 years old. They are intended to help candidates overcome barriers such as lack of work experience, skill, having been in trouble with the law, substance abuse and not having finished high school.

PICS has a 20-week Youth Technical Employment and Business Pathways program focused on fire protection inspection, construction safety inspection and underground utility location, and a second 30-week Trade Builders program for young adults at risk that provides construction trade skills training.

“This program has guided me through the career path that I was hoping for,” said Edwin Uy, a PICS students. Fellow student Kathleen Chitombo offered a glowing review. “I am glad that I am a part of this program,” she said. “Within the span of two weeks I have learned various things about the workforce and who I am. I look forward to learning more.”

The provincial government is providing $30 million over the next two years to help support skills training and employment for young adults, with $18 million earmarked for young adults in general and $12 million specifically for young adults at risk. It’s expected some 2,500 young adults will benefit from these programs.

Labour Market Outlooks’ 2018 edition forecasted 903,000 job openings up to 2028 on account of retirements and economic growth, with 77 per cent of job openings requiring some level of training or post-secondary education.

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