Friday March 30,
Educating the Opposition
province's labour needs through educational opportunities
Released by the Michael Roy, BC NDP
Chilliwack-Hope by-election candidate
Gwen O'Mahoney is flanked by party leader Adrian Dix and FVRD
Director Dannis Adamson.
British Columbians receive access to skills training and
post-secondary education needs to be a government priority, said New
Democrat leader Adrian Dix and Chilliwack-Hope NDP candidate Gwen
O’Mahony today at the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley.
“Without a skilled labour force, B.C.’s economic competitiveness and
growth in the near and long term is at serious risk.
“The Liberal government’s own labour market forecast shows how our
province is facing a shortage of 61,500 workers. But in their latest
budget, the Liberals are cutting support for trades training and
advanced education, instead of improving access to post-secondary
institutions such as University of the Fraser Valley (UFV),” said
The budget cuts post-secondary funding by $70 million in the next
two fiscal cycles. A letter authored and signed by 25 university and
college presidents, including UFV president Mark Evered, points out
that it is troubling that advanced education is receiving an
absolute budget reduction: “it is unrealistic to assume that the
reductions contemplated by Budget 2012 can be achieved without
implications for service levels,” reads the letter.
This disinvestment follows a host of business groups warning that a
growing shortage of highly skilled workers threatens B.C.’s economy.
“For example, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce identified the
looming skills shortage as one of the top risks to the economy;”
In recent papers about our province’s labour market needs, the B.C.
Business Council has advocated for policies that help young adults
attain some level of post-secondary training to mitigate a serious
shortfall in talented, highly skilled workers.
“That is why Adrian Dix’s proposal for non refundable student
grants, financed by a minimum tax on major financial institutions,
is prudent,” said O’Mahony.
O’Mahony shared how she is hearing from people on the doorstep how
access to advanced education is a major concern.
“I am knocking on doors every day in Chilliwack. Many young people
and their families are feeling the burden of tuition fee increases
that have escalated over this past decade under this Liberal
government. These young people are either hesitating from pursuing
advanced education, or assuming debt at a time in their lives when
they can least afford it. In many cases, the growing debt causes
students to prolong, disrupt or abandon their studies," stressed
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice